Suicide Awareness Seminar held Thursday

Story by Cameron Murry, staff writer

On Thursday, Texas High held a teen bullying and suicide prevention workshop. The workshop was put together by the school counselors and principal Brad Bailey.

This informative assembly addressed the issues of bullying and suicide to parents and students. The presentation was given by Mr. Bailey and Mrs. Bishop and informed the audience of cyber bullying, the school’s new policies on bullying and how to prevent suicide and recognize its warning signs. Bailey demonstrated this by going through a slideshow that explained the environment of our school as a “No Bullying Zone” where people are always supporting other students who are struggling.

“We’re here for our students,” Bailey said. “We don’t want anyone to hurt themselves or hurt others.”

Bailey discussed the various ways our school’s faculty can help students through counseling, support groups and anonymous bully reports. The offices of the counselors are places for students to feel welcome and safe.

“My door is always open,” Bailey said. “There’s always someone there that can help.”

Though the turnout wasn’t a large number, Bailey was still confident that the assembly reached people.

“Tonight we had over thirty or forty people here,” Bailey said. “I think we’re doing something right.”

Mrs. Bishop, one of Texas High’s highly qualified counselors, took over for the youth suicide prevention portion of the program. She explained the process of handling bully reports— when she is informed of someone being bullied, she talks to the victim about it.

“We pull them out of class and talk to them,” Bishop said. “It is completely confidential unless they’re thinking about hurting themselves or are already hurting themselves in some way.”

Our teachers are also taught to recognize a change in students’ behavior. Youth suicide is a growing issue nationwide, and teens aren’t always the best at handling tough situations and emotions. Counseling is one way to overcome some of the struggles that adolescents endure.

“We get a lot of people coming by after the initial Tiger Vision announcements,” Bishop said. “And the teachers also refer a lot of kids, so we counsel many students.”

Students are always welcome to talk to the administration and staff on campus about how they feel. Junior Landry Windham, one of the students present at the workshop, realized how serious the bullying issue is.

“This workshop opened my eyes to the fact that bullying happens every day,” Windham said. “The more people that know about the bullying issue, the better that we can, as students, help others.”

Windham took the advice of Bailey and Bishop to heart and has developed new ideas in which to help fellow students who are struggling.

“We can open ourselves up to other people who we would not [usually] speak to,” Windham said. “We can open up our friend circle.”

Windham was impressed with how devoted the administrators are to helping students in need of counseling and assistance.

“I view the administrators as people who care more and really want to make a difference in our school,” Windham said. “I just wish there were more students there.”

Texas High is trying to put an end to bullying through various disciplinary actions. If a student has an issue or witnesses bullying, he or she should report it. No student should go through the emotional and physical pain that bullying and suicide bring.

“There’s always someone here at Texas High,” Bailey said. “There’s always hope.”