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New app battles bullies

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Central High School’s first school-wide assembly of the 2017-2018 school year was to address bullying at Central.

The assembly was held in Central High School’s new gym on Monday, September 11. Kennedy Whetzel, National Miss Jr High School, spoke on the issue of bullying. There was also a video presentation about bullying from the company Point of View.

During this presentation, the administration introduced an app to the students: STOP!T. This app is available for students to download on their smartphones or access from any school Chromebook or desktop computer.

STOP!T is an app where students can anonymously report bullying or any situation where they feel unsafe. The message goes to Central High School’s administration. After it is reported, the administration is able to respond back through the app to be able to ask any questions they may have to investigate further into the incident.

“Maybe students would be more apt to say something if their face isn’t attached to it, or their name, and there’s not the risk of being labeled as a tattletale or a snitch,” Spanish teacher Amber Corbitt said.

Sophomore Erica Bauserman believes that the STOP!T app will help people who need it, but she has concerns about the effectiveness of the app. “I think some people will not get as much out of it as if they were talking to someone face to face,” Bauserman said.

Due to the anonymity of the app, students can easily report false claims of bullying. “I think people will use it as a joke, lessening the importance of the app,” Bauserman said. “Others who need it won’t think it will be a serious source to address their problems with.”

Assistant Principal Heath Johnston said the reports have been mainly serious. “Obviously, there will be some people who send in pointless things. We dismiss those. But we’re going to look into [the reports] and see what’s going on,” Johnston said.

One of the reasons the school chose the STOP!T app was because the app is easily accessible to all of the students since most of the students have access to either a phone or a computer.

“There’s always a focus on finding a way for students to report [situations] but not having to come forward, because it’s intimidating for some people to come into the office and tell the principal,” Johnston said.

The app was implemented by the school to ensure the safety and comfort of the students. English teacher Ashlee Himes says bullying is a problem, but there are people who are trying to stop it. Himes says, “We need to have more people who outweigh the people who are bullying, and I’m hoping that this app will kind of bring that to an end.”

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