Runge Independent School District promotes anonymous reporting using website and phone app
- Free Speech
Runge Independent School District (TX) promotes on its website the use of STOPit, which is “an online and app-based system, to empower students, parents, teachers and others to anonymously report anything of concern to school officials – from cyber-bullying to threats of violence or self-harm.”
The district site states that it wants to go “beyond reacting to bullying and inappropriate behavior, and instead start deterring it.” Runge ISD wants to “empower students to become Upstanders” and believes that the “adoption of STOPit is an important step.”
The software allows users to “submit anonymous reports containing text, photos, and video.” On the administrators end, staff have “efficient and powerful investigative tools” which includes the ability to message anonymously with the student or reporter.
According to STOPit, the school “has no ability to identify the submitter of a report or message.” Though an end user may voluntarily provide identification.
STOPit Solutions, the company that created and administers the software, states on its website that “While reports submitted through STOPit are always anonymous, metadata culled from the reports can offer insights into trends taking place in schools.”
Runge ISD, per its webpage, only discloses “child information to third parties which are required as part of the services that STOPit provides.” The district also states that it is “committed to keeping data provided by students safe” through its “Student Privacy Pledge.” District privacy and data polices can be found here.
According to data research from 2021, 954 schools and colleges had ransomware attacks affecting 950,129 students across the country. In that same year, Texas saw an estimated 481 cyber-attacks on schools, affecting over 300,000 students and costing upwards of $1.63 billion dollars.