Yankees Legend Derek Jeter Partners With Anti-Bullying App
Since retiring from the New York Yankees last year, legendary shortstop Derek Jeter has founded a website featuring first-person takes from athletes, invested in a multi-channel video network and even explored the possibility of purchasing the NFL's Buffalo Bills, according to Tim Graham of the Buffalo News.
Jeter's next major project is more youth-oriented. His youth charity, Turn 2 Foundation, announced a partnership Thursday with an anti-bullying app called STOPit, which helps students report peers' offensive behavior anonymously.
"The Turn 2 Foundation is dedicated to helping young people reach their full potential, and bullying is an obstacle that stands in the way of that for too many," Jeter said in a statement. "By working with STOPit, we hope to empower both bystanders and victims to put an end to bullying. This is a critical step in creating a clear path to academic and personal success for all students, and sends a message that bullying in any form is unacceptable."
Using the app, students can take a screenshot or a video of someone bullying a peer and send that information anonymously to a school official. Schools pay a fee to STOPit, which amounts to a few dollars per student annually, for access to the app, according to Fortune's Daniel Roberts.
Jeter's younger sister Sharlee, who runs the foundation, spoke with Fortune about the new partnership.
"It's obvious the world has completely changed from when Derek and I were younger, and we believe if you can use technology as something that helps protect kids—and do it with the thing they use most and cherish most, which is their phone—then it's a brilliant idea and it'll save a lot of lives," she said.
According to the press release announcing the partnership, "students from the Jeter's Leaders program—Turn 2's signature initiative—will play a key role in the campaign by serving as ambassadors against bullying in their schools." Of the nearly 200 young men and women who have already graduated from the Jeter's Leaders program, about three-quarters "were found to develop greater resilience and motivation to take action, and most are more involved than the average person in community work," according to Gwen Moran at Fast Company. Jeter has also personally invested in STOPit.
With students tending to transition from traditional bullying to cyberbullying as they grow older, per a study published last year in School Psychology Quarterly, the issue clearly isn't one that schools can ignore. Having someone with Jeter's clout throwing his weight behind anti-bullying efforts won't bring an end to cyberbullying outright, but any progress is better than no progress.
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