It was October 10, 2012, about a month after she posted a heart-wrenching video on YouTube, in which she used a series of flashcards to explain how she had been bullied by classmates and anonymous strangers, online and off, over the years. The post went viral after her death. It’s been viewed more than 10 million times on YouTube and is often cited in the ongoing conversation about the need to criminalize cyber bullying.
But for Todd Schobel, punishing bullies once tragedy strikes isn’t enough. What we need, he says, are more ways to catch bullies in the act.
Schobel first heard Amanda’s story while listening to the radio in his car. He was inspired to launch STOPit, an app that lets students anonymously report bullying. Since launching in August, Stop!t has been adopted by 78 schools in 13 states, and today, the company is announcing it has raised $2.6 million to scale not only in school districts, but on college campuses and in the workplace, as well.
“We all know bullying is never going to go away,” Schobel says, “but we think we can give it a good shot of penicillin.”