September 29, 2015

    School District to Use App to Combat Bullying

    MEYERSTOWN, Pa. — A Lebanon County School District is taking a high-tech approach to combat bullies.

    The Eastern Lebanon County School District recently purchased the “Stop It” app to download on student-issued iPads, according to the superintendent of schools.

    This school year, all students in grades 6 through 12 were given an iPad to use for their classroom and homework activities. The roll-out, which was years in the process, allows students to communicate with their teachers and supplement their instruction in the classroom.

    Sara Velazquez, a high school Spanish teacher, uses the iPad to create her own versions of textbooks and assess students on their pronunciations through audio recordings. Some teachers actually record their lectures through the camera and assign students to watch it so they can work on their classwork during the school day.

    Dr. David Zuilkoski, ELCO’s superintendent, said the new app will be downloaded into the iPads at the end of the month.

    “It is an app that allows instant reporting,” Zuilkoski said.

    The students will have an option to report bullying through the press of the button.

    “What it allows students to do is anonymously report if they see a bullying incident or happening to them,” Zuikoski said.

    Some students said the anonymous feature may be good for those who fear they may be considered tattling.

    “Because I know a lot of people wouldn’t want to do that because you’re tattling on them, but I think that would be a really good idea,” Emerson Brown, a senior at the ELCO High School, said.

    The app will also have a 24/7 crisis hotline so students will have somebody to talk to all the time, whether it’s on the weekends or the summer.

    Otherwise, administrators will be notified of the anonymous messages and properly respond, Zuikoski said.

    The district will have informative sessions for students and parents before the app goes online in early October, according to school leaders.


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