Character Counts: How Faith-Based Schools Are Curbing Bullying on Campus with STOPit
If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it. -- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Mercy. Compassion. Peace. Religious faith is steeped in a moral code that is antithetical to bullying.
Given these guiding principles, it makes sense that adoption of the STOPit app among faith-based institutions is on the rise. STOPit is currently in use in Catholic schools administered by a half-dozen dioceses throughout the U.S., and numerous independent faith based schools, and several more on the way in the upcoming school year.
The STOPit platform is designed to be highly customizable - allowing each school that implements the anti-bullying app to present a version that best reflects the school’s culture and any distinguishing characteristics that set it apart from its peers. The leaders of these faith-based schools have taken advantage of STOPit’s flexibility in adapting its anonymous reporting technology to fit their unique campus cultures. There are significant differences between the organizational infrastructures and missions of religious schools and public school districts, and STOPit Senior Vice President of Corporate Development Nathan Foreman understands them well and can help your school navigate them.
As Foreman notes, one of the things that makes Catholic schools so great is what also makes them ripe for a tool like STOPit – their strict adherence to tradition. For ages, the sisters and pastors who run these schools have taken pride in providing an atmosphere that makes kids feel comfortable with coming to them to talk about their troubles. But for all of the love they’re shown, the students may face obstacles to reporting bullying incidents that are not easy to notice.
“If there’s something really serious happening, it’s not about whether they feel comfortable talking to you about it,” Foreman said. “It’s about whether they feel comfortable walking up and knocking on your door when the bully might literally be right across the hall watching.”
Mount Airy Christian Academy Upper School Principal Patrick Korn said that while bullying is not as big of a problem at his school compared to others, it is nevertheless a problem at every school.
“For any school thinking about issues like bullying, we have a mandate. We have to do something – doing nothing is not an option,” Korn said. “And I think you’ll find the same thing that we found, which is that as you look at the different things out there, STOPit is the obvious choice as far as the software reporting and documenting solutions.”
The fast pace of change in the Internet age has made new approaches – like STOPit’s signature anonymous reporting system – necessary to combat emerging problems.
“What’s different today is that if you look at the number of suicides that are happening because of bullying, they’re happening around cyber bullying,” Foreman said. “It’s not like somebody punching your shoulder and taking your milk money anymore. It’s posting something derogatory about someone and having 500 schoolmates see it.”
Resources for Faith-Based Schools
Insurers love when schools include STOPit as part of their student safety portfolios because it’s one more element that reduces risk. According to Foreman, one advantage public schools have over smaller individual faith-based schools is their access to large district-wide or even statewide insurance pools, where the app can bring about meaningful savings in premiums for all of its subscribers.
Foreman has achieved comparable success for Catholic schools by working to implement STOPit at the diocese level, ensuring that all of its schools are credited for this step and receive better rates in turn. "Valuable information is being provided to the administration by the STOPit app,” says Sr. Carol Shively, Superintendent in the Diocese of Shreveport. “The parents love the app and they feel the school is doing everything possible to combat bullying at school and at home. STOPit is a necessary tool for today's principals.”
STOPit can also organize special trainings and guidance for developing the platform in the spirit of any school’s religious foundation. The team will help line up educational leaders to lead workshops about the best practices for using the app from their faith’s perspective.
“Even when we were just shopping between different software providers, STOPit was great to work with,” Korn said. “They were quick taking our calls, with tech support, with walking us through how the app actually worked. The support we got in launching -- in sending posters, in giving us different ideas to get the students excited about it -- everybody we interacted with at STOPit was professional and really helpful.”
Your faith-based school community can use STOPit to help reduce bullying, and enable students to honor their conscious and do the right thing. Click below to contact us.