District contracts with STOPit in poster campaign to curb bullying on campus

Various+posters+from+the+STOPit+campaign+are+placed+in+classrooms+all+over+the+Sunny+Hills+campus+to+encourage+students+to+report+bullying.+Photo+taken+by+Paul+Yasutake.

Various posters from the STOPit campaign are placed in classrooms all over the Sunny Hills campus to encourage students to report bullying. Photo taken by Paul Yasutake.

Alex Park

To encourage students to report bullying on campus, the Fullerton Joint Union High School District has contracted with an organization called STOPit, which has supplied posters with a hotline number to be displayed in all classrooms, school officials said.

This one started at the district level with buying from all of the schools,” principal Allen Whitten said. “We chose to join in because providing a bully-free, safe environment is a top priority of the district and every school.”

Whitten also said only 50 of the STOPit posters arrived half a week before school started, so there was only enough to provide English teachers. The other 50 arrived a week later. 

“I think putting [these posters] up in class is a good idea because sometimes, people feel trapped and believe they [do not] have a way out of this bully cycle,” social science teacher Greg Abbot said. “Hopefully, if a student hears from their group [of friends] say something about someone else they do not want to hear about, now, [he or she] can speak up about it to the administrators anonymously.”

School administrators distributed posters with anti-bullying slogans for teachers to place it in their classroom. The poster includes a QR code for students to activate the STOPit application with  pictures of some of the applications’ features. 

“The posters were designed by the [STOPit] company and sent to the schools,” assistant principal Sarah Murrietta said. “The teachers were asked to display the poster in their class to ensure [that] all students have access and the opportunity to use the STOPit app.”

To make it as efficient and easy for students as possible, the app allows students to directly text a STOPit worker to report bullying, add photos, videos and questions on a separate page to provide evidence; secure it with a code so that it remains strictly confidential from other students.

“With this app, when a report is made, we can communicate back with the individual making the report,” Whitten said. “We believe this will allow us to intervene quickly and efficiently when issues do come up.”

In the “What is STOPit? (Education)” video displayed on the campaign’s website stopitsolutions.com, the anti-bullying movement is said to have begun to make it easier for students to report any problems occurring in school like bullying, hazing, violence and any other inappropriate behavior online and offline.

“This app allows students to report by using the app, website or phone number,” Murrietta said. “With multiple ways to report, the goal is to give students a completely confidential and anonymous tool [in which] the notifications go directly to the administrative team to investigate.”

Furthermore, to inform parents, an announcement email on Aug. 22 from Sunny Hills was sent notifying them about the app, how it works and alternatives for those who do not have smartphones.

After being informed of the app, some students, like sophomore Kaitlin Villanueva, said they believe the STOPit app will help reduce bullying at Sunny Hills. 

“It’s really nice to have the STOPit app available on campus because students that did not report due to peer pressure can now speak up,” Villanueva said. “Since students can now report anonymously, they have no reason to feel worried about being teased or facing social consequences among their friends.”

Although it’s unpredictable what impact the app will have on campus, Whitten said he hopes the app will bring an end to bullying at Sunny Hills.

“I certainly hope this campaign [helps the campus],” he said. “I want to do everything I can to ensure people feel safe and can focus on having a great high school experience, not bullying and other ridiculous issues that can ruin it.”