The Fitchburg Public Schools district is now using STOPit, an online and app-based system, to empower students, parents, teachers and others to anonymously report anything of concern to school officials - from cyber-bullying to threats of violence or self-harm.
STOPit does more than just help schools address incidents and mitigate risk. STOPit will also help us go beyond reacting to bullying and inappropriate behavior, and instead start deterring it. As young people continue to engage more with technology every day, FPS is taking a proactive step to empower students to become upstanders in our community in the way that they feel most comfortable. FPS believes that the adoption of STOPit is an important step in the continued effort to provide a positive school climate and a safe learning environment for students.
STOPit is an online reporting tool designed to deter and mitigate bullying, cyber abuse, and other inappropriate behaviors, consisting of an app and a back-end incident management system for school administrators.
Our students have access to the STOPit mobile app, which has two simple but powerful features:
Report can be used by students to report incidents to school contacts anonymously.
Messenger can be used to engage in anonymous two-way communication with school contacts.
Both Report and Messenger empower students to stand up for themselves and for one another. Students have the power to help put an end to harmful and inappropriate behavior they see online through social media and other means. They can use STOPit to reach out for help if they or a peer are facing a personal crisis or experiencing bullying, abuse, or are otherwise in need of assistance. Our goal with STOPit is to create safer, kinder, school communities both online and off.
No student information is needed to use STOPit. The only way personally identifiable information will be accessible through STOPit is if a student voluntarily includes it within the content of a report or message.
HOW TO REPORT YOUR CONCERN
With STOPit, users can submit anonymous reports containing text, photos, or video. Administrators are then able to manage incidents in a backend management system called DOCUMENTit. DOCUMENTit provides efficient and powerful investigative tools to staff, including the ability to message with the reporter, which will allow FPS to address issues instantly.
There are two ways to access STOPit to make an anonymous report.
STOPit App - Middle and high school students can use the STOPit app to make a report by following these steps:
Initially, download the app from the App Store or Google Play and enter the district access code Fitchburg.
Open the STOPit app.
Add a new school by entering it's access or QR code, or for subsequent visits, confirm that your school is selected.
Make your report.
Web-Based Reporting - To make a web-based report, available to everyone, including parents and elementary students, follow these steps:
Visit the login link here, or navigate to the bottom of the homepage when on your student's school website and click the STOPit icon.
If prompted, enter the school's access code, and then click next.
Confirm that the correct school is selected and proceed to make your report.
Please note, STOPit is not an emergency response service. If you believe your call requires immediate police, fire, or paramedic response, call 9-1-1. STOPit does not provide counseling or clinical advice. If you feel you need this type of attention, please seek the assistance of a qualified clinical or medical professional.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What student information does the school or user need to provide to STOPit?
None! STOPit does not require any end user information whatsoever. Your child will authenticate using an Access Code, which is the same code as their peers, so they all remain anonymous. Information provided by STOPit app users is also kept private and secure.
Is STOPit really anonymous?
Can STOPit be used by children under the age of 13?
The STOPit app, and its browser-based version, may be used by children under the age of 13. FPS urges parents to contact their school's administration to learn more about how the school uses STOPit and the data that is provided.
How does the STOPit mobile app work?
Once the STOPit mobile app is downloaded to the student’s phone, it provides them with several powerful features. The Report feature can be used to anonymously submit an incident report consisting of an image, video, and/or text to school contacts who can respond to the incident and get help to the student in need. The STOPit mobile app also allows for anonymous two-way communication between students and school administrators with STOPit Messenger.
What types of behavior or activity should be reported with STOPit?
STOPit has been used as a school safety solution as well as a powerful reporting tool for issues including bullying/cyberbullying, hazing, violence, weapons possession, sexual harassment, intolerance/discrimination, drugs/alcohol, inappropriate on-line behavior, or threats.
What happens after a STOPit report is made?
After a report is made in STOPit, the following steps are taken:
1. The school's designee will contact the parents of students involved to inform them of this report, and begin the investigative process. During this process, the administrator will interview all students involved in the incident.
2. When necessary, interim steps will be taken to insure safety of the targeted student while the investigation is taking place.
3. The student who was targeted is encouraged to report any retaliation or continued mistreatment now or in the future to the administrator, their parents, and/or the police (when necessary) immediately.
4. After the investigation is complete and a plan of action has been determined, the administrator will contact the students and parents involved in the report to address the findings.
5. Appropriate consequences will be given to the student committing the bullying behavior. (Note: the administrator is not allowed to share consequences with the parents of the targeted student.)
6. The targeted student will be offered strategies on dealing with bullying.
7. In order to provide extra support, the administrator will inform the guidance department of the incident.
8. Staff members (specials teachers, bus drivers, etc.) will be involved on a need to know basis.
Can I as a parent/guardian, teacher, or community member use the app to report incidents?
Yes, parents/guardians, teachers and community members can make an anonymous report via the STOPit app or through the desktop reporting link.
Who can I contact with additional questions about STOPit?
For more information about the District’s implementation of STOPit, contact the administration at your school or visit the STOPit Solutions website here.
IN THE NEWS
A massive police response at Fitchburg High School back on September 12th happened after some alerts came to police through an app called STOPit.
“We did have some communications the app that brought some concerns to our attention,” said Chief Ernest Martineau of the Fitchburg Police Department.
That concern was due to knives brought onto the campus. Police say two students were arrested after one had a pocket knife and a second hid a kitchen knife in the school library.
Fitchburg’s Police Chief spoke to Boston 25 by phone. He says the STOPit app is a game changer.
“This gives not only our student population but our teachers, our entire school community the opportunity to communicate directly and have someone getting crucial information immediately,” said Chief Martineau.
And Fitchburg’s Chief says the app was helpful again just last week.
“We had a bomb threat at Fitchburg High and there was some communication on the STOPit app,” he said.
The STOPit app is simple to use. If you have an incident to report you just open the app.
Click on the tip button and it opens to a whole range of issues – everything from bullying to sexual assault and even weapons are listed. A series of questions pop up and your answers connect you with someone from your organization. And you can remain completely anonymous.
Fitchburg purchased the app thru a federal grant. The Police Chief says the anonymous aspect makes it valuable for kids who might be victims. He says they can feel safe reporting a concern.
“Quite frankly, it should be throughout the Commonwealth. It’s a great tool to put in the hands of students,” said Chief Martineau.
Chief Martineau also says with 6,000 students in Fitchburg schools that’s a lot of eyes and ears who can report a concern – big or small in a matter of seconds.
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