When students go back to school in Frisco this fall, they’ll learn about changes to the safety and security plan which includes a new way for students to report threats and concerns.
“We want to know if a student is being mistreated on our campus, we want to know if a student feels unsafe if they have any red flags about something that might be going on or that’s going to happen within a couple of days,” said Ryan Solano – an assistant principal at Independence High School in Frisco.
Solano will be one of the administrators reviewing tips sent through an app called STOP !T.
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It replaces Frisco’s “ChooseToCare” anonymous online tip-line.
The district says the new app allows students to send information about threats or concerns while allowing two-way communication. Administrators will be able to respond with questions, even if the tip is anonymous.
“The one that we had in the past, we were not able to respond back to if we had any questions of the initial report,” said Solano. “So if a student said something happened in the classroom, but they weren’t specific about the details we were stuck.”
Users can use the app to upload screen shots, pictures and videos to share with administrators. An especially useful tool in cases of cyberbullying.
A user can see when the tip has been read and will learn when the investigation is closed, said the district.
It is one of the latest tools rolling out at Frisco ISD this fall. In addition to the app, the district is beefing up its staffing to make more counselors available to meet with students to address mental health needs.
The district says that includes 38 additional campus instructional support facilitators to take over testing and other responsibilities while adding student assistance coordinators who can provide individual, group and crisis counseling.
The district says a total of $1.625 million will be set aside to provide additional staff to support safety, security and counseling intervention.
This comes after multiple mass shootings earlier in 2018. In May, Governor Greg Abbott unveiled his school and firearm safety plan after the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.
“I think it’s just that heightened awareness at this time. We’ve always wanted to keep our students safe and always have measures in place but it’s a good time to go back and analyze and make sure we’re doing everything we need to make sure our students and staff are safe,” said Frisco Chief Student Services Officer Cory McClendon.
According to Frisco ISD, some high school campuses this year will pilot a program that will require students to wear ID badges while at school and school-sponsored events on campus. The district is also buying hand-held metal detectors. The district says it is working with Frisco Police on best practices on when to use the devices.
The STOP!T app will be launched about a week into the new school year. The district says students will receive training on how to use it.
The district says it still encourages students and families to report any concerns directly to staff. If someone can’t do that, the district says the app will serve as another open line of communication.
“It is important that a student has another way to report it if they don’t feel comfortable to do that,” said Solano. “This way, hopefully, nothing is left unanswered.”