Creating a safe space

Counselors, administration work to protect students from bullying

The poster frequently found in classroom windows promotes creating a free space for students to be themselves,

Matilda Milner

The poster frequently found in classroom windows promotes creating a free space for students to be themselves,

Twenty percent of American high school students have been bullied, according to the U.S. Department  of Health and Human Services. The same statistic says that 71 percent of young people have seen bullying happen within their school.

The state of Oregon is no exception. Bully Police USA estimates that there are 47,138  victims of bullying in schools in this state.  

Greg Bean, school counselor, has helped students deal with bullying  in his career.

“A lot of the times, we just try and get to the bottom of it, as to the students perspective of what’s happening and why they think it might be happening,” Bean said. “Sometimes our  job is to figure out both parts of the situation.”

However, if bullying occurs outside of school or online, school officials enter a gray area in terms of whether or not they are allowed to interfere.

“As a counselor, if we ever feel like a student’s safety or someone else’s safety is at stake in a conversation or a situation, it’s our obligation to get involved at whatever aspect,” ”

— Greg Bean

“The reality is that, if it is stuff that is happening off campus, there isn’t really a ton we can do about it until it starts carrying over to how people are affected on campus,” Bean  said.  “If it affects their safety here, we still have the opportunity to get involved, whether it’s talking to the students or providing consequences for continued things.”

However, Bean says that he is willing to do whatever necessary for students to feel safe in their school environment.  

“As a counselor, if we ever feel like a student’s safety or someone else’s safety is at stake in a conversation or a situation, it’s our obligation to get involved at whatever aspect,” Bean said.

Paul Hanson, assistant principal, believes that he and his co-workers will continue to make an effort to prevent bullying.

“I think it’s just […] creating a very warm and safe place,” Hanson said. “And so, I think it’s continuing to listen to the needs of our students and being really responsive to that,”

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