As a growing number of teenagers across the country face mental health issues, experts say many of them are being impacted by social media and cyberbullying.
It’s Anti-Bullying Week, and we took a look at how one school in our region is being proactive.
“They’re really good about picking out students that they know are not having too good of a day so even if a student has to come down and see me as the guidance counselor and just talk about what’s going on, I think that’s more important than ever,” said Kelly Allen, school counselor with the General McLane School District.
Kelly Allen is one of two guidance counselors at James Parker Middle School in Edinboro. She said General McLane School District faculty encourage students to speak up about bullying- all while keeping parents in the loop.
“We are always contacting home to make sure home knows that we’re on the same page as them. We do a lot of peer mediation, so if it is something that happened on Snapchat or outside of school and it was brought to us, we would be the ones to peer mediate those two students,” Allen added.
She went on to say the guidance counselor’s office sees about 85 to 100 students a month and explained their approach when it comes to conflict.
“Just sitting down with those students and realizing that they might not be best friends at the end of the day, but as a society, we have to learn how to deal with people that we might not like or we’re not too fond of,” Allen said.
Allen added it can be difficult to reach students as much of their life exists online. However, there’s still one clear message.
“It is hard now with social media. They can be so engulfed in their phones, but making sure that they know that being kind is important, sharing that smile and sharing a compliment can go a really long way, especially for a student that could be struggling more than anyone knows,” Allen continued.