GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. – Students are kicking off a new school year in Glynn County, Georgia. Sadly, like many school districts, bullying is one issue they will likely face.
WalletHub recently listed Georgia as one of the worst states for bullying. An issue Glynn County is working to fix.
Over the years, News4Jax has spoken to parents in Southeast Georgia who said bullying was one of their main concerns.
That's why the Glynn County school district wants to be proactive. Sung Hui Lewis is the district's assistant superintendent for teaching and learning.
"A safe environment is our number one priority," Lewis said. "If we can't make your children feel safe, then they're not going to learn."
Lewis said one of the main goals is for students to feel comfortable reporting the problem. The "STOPit" app became available to students last semester. It is a tool for this new school year.
The app is free to download. It allows for students to report problems with bullying, hazing, inappropriate online behavior, etc. Students can use it without giving their name.
Once the report comes in, Lewis said, intervention is available for the student being bullied, and the student who is the bully.
"They need services to find out why they're doing that," Lewis said. "So, it's not just reacting to the behaviors that are unacceptable. It's looking at that particular child and saying, 'Hey, why do you feel like you need to be a bully to someone else?'"
If someone ever hesitates to report bullying they've witnessed against another student, Lewis hopes all students will remember to do what is right.
"It's never wrong to do the right thing," Lewis said. "And the best scenario would be that, 'How would you feel? What would you want somebody to do for you?' If you want somebody to speak up for you, if you want someone to help you, you are that person for someone else."
The "STOPit" app is available through Google Play or the Apple App store. The district wants students to know they can always report bullying the old-fashioned way, by going to a trusted adult.
To learn more about the "STOPit" app, click here to see the instructional video provided by the Glynn County school system