YESS at Adams City High School

YESS at Adams City High School

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Meaning & Impact of Harassment

In high school’s all over the country there lies a silent yet viral problem plaguing student bodies. The topic of bullying can often take a cheesy turn at the 9-12th grade level, but through careful planning and presentation by myself and my mentor leaders, we made room for a safe space in which people could express their own experiences with feeling different & enduring harassment.

We did an exercise similar to the privilege walk except this time we were in the comfort of our own classroom. We dimmed the lights and got on either side of the line and stepped up to it when a situation related to our own lives.

Example:
Step up if…
You were raised by a single parent
You have ever been the subject of a racist joke
You have ever experienced sexual harassment
You have struggled with depression
You have participated in a racist, sexist, or homophobic joke
You have been the victim of cyber harassment
You have lost a friend due to suicide
You have been affected by someone struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction
You love someone who has been, or currently is in, jail

The students were to stay silent throughout the whole activity, showing respect to the people who were brave enough to be vulnerable and step to the line. None of the students were pressured to step up if they did not feel comfortable, I let them know that they could stay in one place the entire time if they chose to do so. After the activity they did a reflection by themselves and then with each other, expressing the feelings that this activity brought up in them. The concluding thoughts they shared related to being surprised that so many people had been through/are currently battling such difficult emotional struggles because of trauma. It was a much needed reminder to treat everyone with respect and kindness because you never know what someone is going through. This activity also brought us closer as a family, they seem to share more and more each day and they handled the activity with such maturity I was so proud.

We also explored the 4 different types of harassment and did group activities prompting real life examples for each. After each block I put up a slide with all of the contact information belonging to the school counselors and social workers, explaining where their offices are in the building. I feel that there can often be a negative stigma attached to seeking out help when you’re struggling with mental health (I too experienced this in high school) so I wanted to normalize it and open up the door for students to make that first step of seeking help. I plan to aid this further next week by having the counselors come by my classes and introduce themselves.

This lesson was our introduction to our upcoming project diving into the issues belonging to the controversial yet popular show called 13 Reasons Why. More on the progress of this project next week!

See you next time,
Ms. Castro