August 11, 2017

    Mobile App Aims to Reduce Bullying, Cyber Bullying at Pampa Schools

    PAMPA, Texas (KVII) — The Pampa Independent School District is turning to technology to help students and staff report and prevent inappropriate behavior. Gov. Gregg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 179 (David’s Law) it promises to have a major impact on the day-to-day operations of schools. A mobile app called “Stop-it” will allow people to report suspicious activity and help deter illegal activity from taking place.

    “With this app I think it’s going to make it where people have the ability to recognize that behavior and something about it,” said Tanya Larkin, Pampa ISD superintendent.

    The Pampa ISD is investing in the mobile app and expects to see immediate results.

    “The district is excited at this opportunity,” said Larkin. “It’s something we feel is important and invaluable. We are investing in this because we know it’s important for everyone to feel safe. We want to make sure everyone feels safe.”

    How it works is by having a person use the Stop-it app to report inappropriate behavior via an anonymous message and the information is connected to principals and assistant principals.

    “They type in on the app and then it comes to a proper administrator,” said Nathan Maxwell, director of Human Resources at Pampa ISD. “Once an administrator sees it, they respond to it. Depending on the severity, they notify the proper person and handle it accordingly.”

    The reaction time to incidents speeds up significantly, which in turn resolves a conflict or can help someone who needs medical attention. The app functions as a security blanket.

    “We can focus on investigating the situation and making sure that discipline, if necessary, or counseling is established for the bully and the person accused of doing the bullying,” said Suzanne Pingel, a Pampa ISD social worker.

    Pingel tells ABC 7 News a reason why lawmakers introduced and signed the bill into law is because the person reporting bullying or cyberbullying remains completely anonymous.

    “We’re able to talk back and forth with the person who did the reporting,” said Pingel. “We can ask questions and figure out where it happened and who it happened too and get some facts. We then can start a complete investigation.”

    “This app will not cure human behavior, but it will mitigate the damage that it can cause,” said Larkin.

    The mobile app is free for students and staff and will take effect on Sept 1. The first day of school for Pampa ISD is scheduled for August 22.

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