By Angelica Smith
One may walk the halls unaware of the hostility between students. Friends may even hide behind a smile, and possibly even seem like the happiest person in the world, but do you really know what happens behind closed doors?
Precautions have been taken for students dealing with bullying and depression. There is a suicide prevention program, and lessons that include information that students need to know when dealing with bullying, also having problems with friends that need help but don’t seem to know how to get it can be helpful. This curriculum is included in sophomore health classes. There are basic goals that most schools have for example, ensuring that students feel safe and welcomed when entering school grounds, which makes for a healthy learning environment.
“Any student who feels that they’re being bullied, we take very seriously, no matter how small,” guidance counselor Laura Blaser said.
Every year a REAL lesson is taught that includes treating people properly with respect and acknowledging others feelings, and emphasizing the positive which helps improve the learning environment.
“The staff are trained to recognize odd behavior, which helps them identify a struggling student,” principal Michael Schaefer said.
When a student is being bullied they’re are able to fill out a form which includes witnesses, description of misconduct, name of alleged harasser and any evidence that could help the counselor put a stop to the situation.
“We are required to fill out a form and legally investigate,” Schaefer said.
Gresham is completely anti-bullying, which means that no harassment is tolerated.
“We empower students to stand up to bullies,” history teacher Jay Lehr said.
The staff encourages students to feel free to talk to counselors if students express any major concerns about incidents that they may be having trouble with, counselors are their to resolve the problem and also console.
“Even the smallest issue that is reported we take with seriousness. We check cameras and talk to eyewitnesses,” Blaser said.
The main purpose of school is to provide students with education and a safe environment to receive that education. Students may not be completely aware of the resources they could use when dealing with depression that may have been caused by bullying or any other issues that occurred.
“I’m not sure if they are or aren’t (aware), but they’re (as students) kind of woven into the standard response system.” Lehr said.
Within the whole district, schools are very clear about protocols and how to help students when depressed or suicidal.
“Approach it with care and kindness, we work with the families to provide additional resources, hotlines, and referrals to counseling,” Blaser said.
Students may not recognize the teachers keeping watch during lunch and passing times, but they are making sure students are getting where they need to be, while also being aware of any sort of harassment that may be occurring at these times.
“Teachers at the front lines, administrators, and security investigate bullying when they’ve noticed any kind of odd behavior between students.” Lehr said.
As a school we need to be aware of those around us and think before we act because actions speak louder than words.