SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. — National data shows only about 20 to 30 percent of students tell an adult they are being bullied.
That leaves a pretty large number of incidents that go unreported and that only includes bullying. Educators believe students face a lot these days and need new ways to report.
Right now students have two ways to report an incident in Sevier County.
"They get reports to the counselors the administration and then to the state department," student health coordinator Don Best said.
However, educators add some students are falling through the cracks
and that is a problem.
"So there's a gap in between those two particular programs," Best said.
The county is now addressing that problem and in a world of full of technology all you need is a phone.
"We're going to announce an encrypted, anonymous student app," he added.
It's actually called "STOPit." A quick glance at the program's website shows how it works. All you have to do is hit report then type what kind of incident it is. You can also add evidence like pictures and videos and lastly hit submit.
It goes directly to school officials who can either follow up with you anonymously or start looking into the report.
That can include anything from bullying, cyber bullying and violence to discrimination, hazing and inappropriate teacher relationships.
"Even a possible suicide," Best said.
Again it's completely anonymous, which Best said helps.
"The help can be there without them being identified and possibly creating some other problems within their own groups," he said.
After 45 years in education, Best has seen children go through a lot.
"You've got to understand that they are youngsters and they are trying to grow, trying to mature," he said.
However, with the help of this app, all he wants is to help them along the way.
"We need to give them the best help we can possibly give them," he said.
Sevier County Schools plans to track reports long term and then decide what schools need more resources and why.