Saturday, December 5, 2020

CISD Launches New Two-Way Hotline for Students

After learning this fall that the hotlines that students in grades 5-12 had been using since 2012 to communicate with their school counselors were being discontinued by the vendor, Carroll ISD staff went to work to identify a solution to maintain two-way communication with students in crisis or reporting bullying.

School officials say they are excited to roll out a new two-way communication tool, STOPit, at the intermediate, middle and high school campuses. STOPit is the nation’s leading anonymous reporting system that teaches and empowers individuals to recognize and anonymously report safety, misconduct, and compliance concerns before they escalate into a crisis.

STOPit has been chosen by our school counselors to replace the student hotlines numbers the district has utilized for two-way communication with students in crisis. In addition, the new app will mean the district can streamline its anonymous communication systems from three different systems (Student Hotlines, Dragon Tip Line and Let’s Talk) down to just two: Stopit and Let’s Talk.

David’s Law was passed and signed into Texas State law on September 1, 2017, requiring all Texas school districts to provide a way for students to anonymously report cyberbullying. However, Carroll ISD had already been offering student hotlines for students in grades 5-12 for nearly a decade. The student hotlines were phone numbers that students could text and anonymously communicate with their campus counselors, but the parent company who provided the hotline services discontinued that product this fall.

The school counselors researched and met with multiple vendors and tip line providers, and identified STOPit as the most fitting program for Carroll ISD’s needs. The district was also able to receive a prorated refund from the company of the discontinued product, and put those funds toward the new STOPit services. The system costs about $1 per student per year. Over 6,000 K-12 schools, colleges & universities, workplaces, and public safety & government organizations use STOPit resulting in tens of thousands of students and adults getting the help, and for many, saving their life or the lives of others.

“Carroll ISD 6-12 campus administrators and counselors are excited to launch the STOPit App to support students by addressing and preventing pervasive issues such as bullying, cyberbullying, self-harm, and any issue which can negatively impact the learning environment,” said Carroll’s Counselor Coordinator Tammy Pulse. “STOPit gives administrators powerful investigative tools – such as real-time alerts, built-in reports, and the ability to communicate directly with incident submitters – so that we can address and resolve issues quickly.”

In order to effectively streamline the communication services for students through the STOPit mobile app, the district will be phasing out the Dragon Tip Line, currently available on the Dragon Mobile App. Let’s Talk will remain available on the campus and district websites for students, parents, staff and the community to build trust and open the lines of communication with the district.

In September 2018, the district’s #SAFEdragon program rolled out a series of “We Are Listening” posters for students to show the three ways they were able to communicate with the district. These posters hang in hallways, commons areas and in every classroom in our intermediate, middle and high schools. The posters will soon be updated to reflect the methods of two-way communication for students going forward: STOPit and Let’s Talk.

STOPit allows students to report anonymously via mobile app, web, or phone hotline service, and it is 100% anonymous, 100% of the time. Campus counselors and administrators will be rolling out STOPit on their campuses, familiarizing students with the new hotline platform, which is already available for student use.

“It’s our priority to meet the needs of all students and to support their social and emotional needs,” said Pulse.