BY ANTHONY MCCARRON
Derek Jeter didn’t have to cope with cyberbullying while growing up, but he’s aware enough of the issue that his Turn 2 Foundation announced a partnership Thursday morning with an app designed to fight it.
Jeter, the former Yankee shortstop who retired after the 2014 season, is also an investor in Stop!t, an app that the company says is implemented in more than 100 schools nationwide.
“None of us can relate to this social media frenzy going on — it wasn’t when we were in school,” Sharlee Jeter, Derek’s sister and the president of Turn 2, said in an interview. “For Derek, social media is kind of a foreign world — he’s said it many times.
“But he knows how powerful it is, how it’s consumed our youth. I’m not sure I would’ve been able to handle that kind of bullying and abuse when I was younger and I came from a wonderful home. You have outside forces now even penetrating into your safe home.”
Using Stop!t, kids can anonymously report bullying, said Todd Schobel, the company CEO who launched the app last year. “They can take a screen shot of the incident and, within seconds, hit a button and it goes to school administration,” Schobel said. “It’s a picture, so there’s no he-said, she-said. They can get in front of a crisis before it get out of control.”
Jeter was not available for interviews, but he said in a statement: “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. By working with Stop!t, 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.”
Sharlee Jeter said that the kids involved in Turn 2’s Jeter’s Leaders program often bring up bullying and cyberbullying as “one of the major topics they’ve wanted to be educated on and bring an end to. This aligned with our mission.” Jeter’s Leaders will serve as anti-bullying ambassadors in their schools, she said.
Derek Jeter, who will turn 41 later this month, has been busy in retirement with, among other things, publishing ventures. Asked how her brother is enjoying his post-playing career life, Sharlee Jeter says, “He loves it.
“He’s been non-stop for a really long time, really focused on baseball, which was a great thing. That’s how he is. He is keeping busy with everything.
“It’s a big change, but he’s not missing a beat in trying to do what he’s always done throughout his career, which is giving back. He’s retired from baseball, but his legacy lives with what he does through the foundation and this is a prime example.”