In just over a month, more than 35 incidents of alleged self-harm, drug use and cyberbullying have been reported to Brookfield High School officials through an anonymous phone app, said Principal Adam Lewis.
While surprised that that many reports have been posted through the STOP!t app, Lewis said he is happy that students are using it.
“I think it is a valuable tool,” he said. “You have the occasional false report. For the most part, the kids have taken it very seriously.”
Two freshmen, Sierra Pontera and Alex Couturiaux, said following a school assembly Feb. 28 that they would use STOP!t if they believed there was a need, and that they have witnessed instances in the past that Lewis said would have been appropriate uses of the app.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Sierra said.
Administrators’ investigations of the reports have resulted in conversations with the subjects of the reports, some disciplinary measures, and referrals to counseling, Lewis said.
“Some of the kids just needed an adult to talk to,” he said.
Lewis and Assistant Principal Kristen Foster unveiled the app in the school-wide assembly Feb. 28. The assembly was held two weeks after the Parkland, Fla., school shooting and administrators said they wanted to know about any issues of school safety.
However, STOP!t can be used to report many other things, from bullying and harassment to threats and criminal activity.
The incidents do not have to occur just at school, and most reports have been filed after school hours, Lewis said. Students are not supposed to use their cellphones during school, but Lewis said he wants to know of problems or concerns as quickly as possible.
“If you heard something that we need to know right now, that would trump our cell phone policy,” he said.
At the assembly, administrators reminded students about the responsible use of social media, phones and other computerized devices. Social media posts don’t really disappear, they said, noting sexting among minors is child pornography and employers browse the social media posts of prospective job applicants, they said.
They also went over the components of ALICE, the incident response program designed to give school staff and students skills to remain safe, flee or be proactive in an active shooter situation.
“We want you to know Brookfield as a place of safety, a place where you’re wanted,” Lewis said.