Richmond Hill High School is hosting an anti-bullying and suicide prevention awareness workshop for parents and students at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Principal Debi McNeal said counselors will be presenting information that students will also be learning during their advisement sessions throughout the second semester.
“In reviewing data and planning for school improvement, we identified the need for improved education of all stakeholders regarding social and emotional issues that impact our students,” McNeal said. “We have several activities either in planning or implementation to support this goal.”
The sessions will also cover self-injury and alcohol/drug awareness and provide parents and students information on where to turn for help.
“Providing information and improving what stakeholders know about these social and emotional concerns/needs will be an ongoing focus,” McNeal said.
Tuesday’s event is intended only for current Richmond Hill High School students and their parents, although other schools in the district may implement similar programs.
“Our goal is to break the common misconception that we aren't supposed to talk about these things,” McNeal said. “These issues are at an all-time high in today's youth, and we want to be proactive in educating our students about them.”
Several parents addressed the Bryan County Schools Board of Education last fall about bullying and other issues after a Richmond Hill High School student attempted to commit suicide. Just last month, sheriff’s deputies investigated a case of cyber bullying involving Richmond Hill Middle School students who were reported to have sent text messages to a girl encouraging her to commit suicide.
Superintendent Paul Brooksher said at that school board meeting that the district aims to do a better job communicating with students and parents the seriousness of these issues and the resources that are available to those who experience problems.
“Many times school officials are not aware of what is going on. We encourage students and parents to report these types of situations immediately so administrators and counselors can address it,” Brooksher said. “It's our fault we haven't been more clear about our efforts. In my experience, I've never seen a school employee not take a reported allegation of bullying seriously. We are doing our best, but we can always get better.”
McNeal said the advisement sessions with students will include presentations on each topic that include a combination of facts, misconceptions, discussion starters informational videos and what processes/procedures that are taken for each type of situation.