Headlines & Highlights
Headlines & Highlights
October 6, 2022
PSAT exams are Wednesday; No school for seniors
There will be no school for students in grade 12 on Wednesday, October 12. That is the day students in grades 9, 10 and 11 will take the Preliminary SAT exam. (Grades 9-11 will be released early, at 1 PM, on October 12.)
October is anti-bullying month
All schools today struggle with a rise in bullying, with the problem striking especially hard in middle schools. One study showed that a far greater proportion of middle school students (39 percent) experienced bullying than did high school students (27 percent) — and incidents at all levels are notoriously under-reported.
Cyberbullying is also taking center stage, with one-third of students reporting that they have been a cyber-victim. Again, the rate is highest among grades six through eight at 28 percent. One survey found that screen time for children aged eight to twelve rose to five hours and 33 minutes in 2021 (and more than eight hours for teens). Making matters worse, most of this time occurs without the benefit of adult supervision.
This form of bullying is especially dangerous, in that rumors can be spread almost instantly, are easily shared among large groups, can be created anonymously, and are hard to delete. Cyberbullying statistics are particularly grim: Nearly one-quarter of cyberbullied students have considered suicide, and more than one-third develop anxiety or depression.
The proof is all around us that bullying is one of the main reasons why students suffer from mental and emotional health issues, which also hinder their ability to learn and be engaged at school. The question we must answer is what concrete steps we can take to address the problem.
Warning signs that a child is being bullied
One of the main ways we can reduce bullying is to teach educators and parents about the red flags that signal a child is being bullied.
Altered Mood: The student may become depressed, anxious, or show other signs of emotional distress. They may refuse to talk about what is wrong out of fear or shame.
Illness and Physical Harm: Students who experience bullying may experience health effects such as headaches and stomachaches. They may also have unexplained cuts, bruises, or scratches.
Fear of School: Victims may make excuses to stay home from school or not want to participate in after-school activities. There may be afraid of getting on the bus or taking the long way or an “illogical” route to school.
Poor Grades: Many bullied students lose interest in school, fall behind in schoolwork, or grades start to slip. They may start avoiding school activities they previously enjoyed.
Social Isolation: Bullied students often lose friends (sometimes quite suddenly), have trouble making friends, or become withdrawn.
Sleeplessness: Anxiety may cause sleeplessness, recurrent bad dreams, and inattention at school.
Appetite: The student’s eating habits may change suddenly or drastically, including loss of appetite or bingeing. This may be a sign that they are stressed, avoiding the group setting of the cafeteria, or that someone is stealing their lunch money.
Decreased Self-Esteem: Bullying can result in lower self-esteem and feelings of helplessness. In middle school, students are more likely to blame themselves rather than those bullying them. This can result in self-destructive behaviors, such as hurting themselves, running away, substance abuse, or dropping out of school.
Aggression: Sometimes, victims may express their feelings by behaving more unreasonably with parents or aggressively to siblings or other younger, smaller children.
What we can do about bullying
Ask you child, regularly and often, about their friends and if they are having any problems. Sometimes it is good to ask if they know of any friends who are having problems as that is easier to talk about.
Ask them how they manage and cope when someone is mean to them or their friends.
Ask them if they are worried about anything in general or specifically with friends or school.
Ask them how kids are mean to one another - do they say it directly or text it or do it through notes or social media.
Know what social media accounts your child has and have a long conversation with them about what is good and worrying about social media for youth.
Watch this excellent free training for parents on How Digital Media is Changing Our Children’s Mental Health which can help to understand the problem and seek solutions.
Watch this free training on Helping Your Child When They’re Bullied
More strategies for parents to help their kids
Once you know your child is dealing with teasing or bullying it can be hard to know what to do. Many students do not want to report it for fear it will become worse.
As a parent you should ask your child how you can help. If the incident(s) fall under a category of teasing and fighting, rather than bullying, then talk about how they can cope, what gives them strength, and how they can overcome and stay above and beyond it.
However, if the impact on your child is great then it might be necessary to report the harassment and take steps to stop or reduce it. This often means getting other parents or the school involved. This step hopefully will help with the problem, but it does not address the complex feelings that arise with being on the receiving end of negativity and rejection.
What your student needs most are peers and adults who they can rely on to help them navigate both the situation and the emotions that go along with it.
Winton Elementary students remind us to BE KIND
Mental Health Awareness Week at our high schools
Students at Lake City High School and Coeur d’Alene High School are highlighting mental health awareness and suicide prevention this week with information booths featuring community resources. At LCHS on Tuesday, the Kroc Community Center and Panhandle Health District were on hand to interact with students during lunch. We also saw a visit from Blue, a certified therapy dog working with students in our District, and Blue’s partner Erin Duncan, a mental health counselor in our District. A big shout-out to the student leaders who took it upon themselves to organize these activities!
Bullying behavior can affect school attendance: What to watch for
Even as children grow older and more independent, families play a key role in making sure students access learning opportunities and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and on the job. Families can also advocate for resources to help students learn if they cannot attend in-person.
Help your teen stay engaged:
- Find out if your children feel engaged by their classes, and feel safe from bullies and other threats.
- Make sure your children are not missing class because of challenges with behavioral issues or school discipline policies. If any of these are problems, contact the school and work with them to find a solution.
- Monitor you child’s academic progress and seek help from teachers or tutors when necessary. Make sure teachers know how to contact you.
- Stay on top of your child’s social contacts. Peer pressure can lead to skipping school, while students without many friends can feel isolated.
- Encourage your child to join meaningful after-school activities, including sports and clubs.
- Notice and support your children if they are showing signs of anxiety.
Scenes from the Sources of Strength Color Run on Sept. 17
This year's Sources of Strength Color Run drew a big crowd to the county fairgrounds on Saturday, September 17. Thanks to everyone who participated!
All proceeds from this event go directly to our secondary schools to support our incredible Sources of Strength program. Sources of Strength is a program where kids from all walks of life create a culture within their school that empowers change. This dynamic club is student-led and assists in helping all students find their personal strength through a message of hope, health and strength.
Sources of Strength curriculum resources approved for elementary schools
On Monday, Oct. 3, the Coeur d'Alene School Board voted 3-2 to approve adoption of Sources of Strength Curriculum Resources for use in kindergarten through fifth grades to support the elementary health curriculum. These resources will be used to help students build resilience by reinforcing strengths such as hope, persistence and asking for help when needed.
The Sources of Strength Resources for elementary were put out to the public for review this fall through the District website and in person at the District Office. Public reviews overwhelmingly were in favor of these resources. In addition, the majority of a committee that reviewed the health resources supported them.
The instruction will be delivered by trained facilitators. Parents or guardians will be notified and given the opportunity to excuse their students from any lessons.
See something? Say something! Help keep our schools safe
Students and families have a big role in helping keep their schools safe. Report threats or dangerous behavior, including fighting, bullying, drugs and online threats, using the District’s mobile app, or using the TIP LINE link found on all school websites. Please have a conversation with your student about how important it is to report potential safety issues, even if they feel something might be fake or a joke. Student tips have prevented violence, self-harm and threatening behavior. If you see something, say something!
Meet your School Board on October 17
You are welcome to meet and speak with the Trustees serving on our School Board on Monday, October 17, from 5-6 PM at Woodland Middle School in the cafeteria. We will have light refreshments.
November School Board Meeting
The Board of Trustees will meet Monday, November 7, at 5 PM at the Midtown Meeting Center, 1505 N. 5th Street. This is the Board's regular monthly meeting.