KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
August 22, 2019
By Natalie Cook Clark
As bullying and school threats continue to be a problem in U.S. schools, Katy ISD continues to adapt and offer new ways for students to report problems and stay safe. This year, the district is debuting a new, free app that makes reporting and investigating issues easier. All reports are anonymous.
Katy ISD Launches Anonymous Reporting System
Katy ISD has launched a new anonymous reporting system titled SpeakUP for the 2019-2020 school year.
"This is a standalone app in which Katy ISD students, parents and community members can anonymously submit safety and well-being tips to help prevent school related incidents that could cause harm to others," says Maria DiPetta, Manager of Media Relations and Multimedia. "Tips may include bullying, weapons-related incidents, suicide or self-harm, illicit drug use, inappropriate relationships, violence and other concerns of safety and well-being."
Katy ISD Continues to Evolve with a Growing U.S. Problem
This is a second year in a row that Katy ISD has introduced a new app of this nature.
"In August 2018, Katy ISD debuted their new Bullying Tip Line, which was featured on the Katy OnTheGo app," says DiPetta. "During that first week, over 105,000 users downloaded the app. By the close of the new school year, there had been a total of 138,704 users who were using the app, including the Bullying Tip Line. For the new school year, Katy ISD has created a mobile application that has a wider range of features and the ability to report all types of issues."
This district is optimistic that the wider scope of the new app will allow more people to use the app and help keep the district safe.
40 Different Tip Categories
SpeakUP will include more features than the previous tip line.
"Users can anonymously submit a tip, from 40 different tip categories, to Katy ISD Police, counseling services and campus/district administration concerning school, district or student safety," says DiPetta.
The app also allows users to attach video or photo evidence and receive review updates on the tip that was submitted.
Many Features Make Reporting Easier
Reporting a problem has never been easier. Students, parents, and teachers can use the app to do the following:
Anonymously submit a tip to Katy ISD police, Counseling Services, and campus/district administration concerning school, district or student safety
Attach video or photo evidence that supports the tip
Select from over 40 different tip categories
Review updates on the submitted tip
Threats are Serious, Jail Time Possible
Students need to understand that making a threat is a serious matter and will be taken seriously. A threat, even if it's just words with no true intent of action, drains law enforcement, school staff, and costs tax payer dollars. Making a threat can result in up to five years in prison.
SpeakUP for Free
The SpeakUP app can be downloaded for free on iTunes and Google Play. The app launched on the first day of school, August 14 and teachers and staff are actively training students on how to use it. Learn more about the new SpeakUP app online.
Katy ISD offers numerous technological services to help students and parents throughout the year. Learn more about the different technological services here.