Week focuses on saying something when students, staff notice bullying or a person in need
By Chad Koenen
Henning School students and staff members made a promise to themselves, and others, last week as part of the national “Say Something Week.”
Each year, thousands of schools and youth organizations across the country participate in Say Something Week. The week celebrates the importance of trusted adults and up-standers in each community. The week was celebrated from March 14-18 and was organized by the Sandy Hook Promise.
Henning School counselor Jenna Damm said this is the first year the school district has participated in the initiative. The goal was to raise awareness about the need to say something if an individual sees the signs of bullying, or someone who is struggling with mental health. On Tuesday, students wrote promises on hands and placed them on a banner in the hallway near the cafeteria.
The students could write about something they promise to do, as well as something they promise to do to take care of themselves. Staff members were also encouraged to write on a separate banner across the hall.
Henning SADD students helped with the project and Damm also spent time recently visiting with students about the need to say something when students see other students struggling with bullying or mental health.
The Sandy Hook Promise organization was set up following the Dec. 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook School and raises awareness for the need for protecting children from gun violence by empowering youth. The organization hopes to unite people who value the protection of children by knowing the signs of violence, preventing gun violence and stopping the tragic loss of life.
In addition to Say Something Week, the school recently unveiled a new Stop It app for students. The app is an anonymous way for students to report bullying and students they identify as needing assistance with mental health. The app can be downloaded to a phone, or electronic device, and sends a report to school officials.
Damm said the nice part of the app is students can take a screenshot of online bullying and attach it to the anonymous message on the Stop It app. That way students can get the help they may need and prevent bullying both online and in the community.
Both the Say Something Week and the Stop It app highlight the increased need of helping students and community members with mental health and bullying. Damm said mental health was becoming a bigger issue, but COVID-19 magnified the importance of focusing on being there for students mental needs.