April 12, 2018
From a press release: The Ellensburg School District is adopting the StopIt Solutions anonymous reporting app that was the central component of Rep. Matt Manweller’s Students Protecting Students school safety bill in the 2018 legislative session.
Manweller, who has been working on legislation to combat school violence since the shootings at Marysville High School in 2014, introduced legislation, House Bill 2442, that would have required schools to make available an iPhone app allowing students to instantly and anonymously alert school officials to ominous or threatening social media posts. The app has been adopted by several school districts around the nation and has been successful at reducing school violence, teen suicide and student bullying.
“This was a team effort,” said Manweller, R-Ellensburg. “Jonathan Leonard and the school board reached out to me and set up meetings with Superintendent Mike Nolan and Principal Jeff Ellersick. We discussed how the current reporting systems were not meeting their needs and how the proposal in my bill might work better. I am excited that Ellensburg School District is being proactive about school violence. This is an issue we have to get in front of. We can’t respond after a terrible event has already occurred.”
Manweller first introduced the Student Protecting Student bill in the 2015 session with fellow Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, who was a school employee at Columbine High School when two students killed multiple people. Their bill made it out of the Education and Appropriations committees but did not become law that year. This year, the bill suffered a similar fate. It passed unanimously out of the House Education Committee but died in Appropriations.
As a compromise, the final state operating budget included $750,000 for school safety grants. Manweller is working to ensure the Ellensburg School District will qualify for those grants and get reimbursed.
“I hope we can get some state money to reimburse our folks. They are leaders in the area of school safety and these grants were intended to incentivize innovation in this area of policy,” said Manweller.
The Moses Lake School District is also considering the option of implementing the anonymous app by next year.