HRMS students take peaceful stand

New progam helps kids understand effects of bullying

Students at Hood River Middle School have taken creative steps to stop bullying and harassment among their peers.

During the past two weeks, the Associated Student Body has helped orchestrate activities to raise awareness of the problem and seek out solutions. School Resource Officer Tiffany Hicks has encouraged the outreach.

“Bullying is the most common problem that I see at all of the schools I am in and we (HRMS staff) decided to help the students be part of the solution,” said Hicks, who worked with School Counselor Alison McDonald to develop an “anti-bullying” program.

Under the Safe Schools Project, the ASB inspired young artists to design posters about the issue that were showcased on the cafeteria walls. In addition, the Hood River City Police Department sponsored $20 prizes for the top essay about the issue in each grade level and an additional $10 for the second place writings. The first place entries were read during a motivational assembly last Friday and drew applause from the entire student body.

In her dissertation, sixth-grader Kylie McPherson suggested that more hall monitors be placed on duty since the majority of bullying and harassment took place between class periods.

The writing of Anna Flores, a seventh grade student, highlighted that parents had the responsibility to instill good values in their children so they would not grow up to be bullies.

Eighth-grader Lauren Hay penned an opinion that bullies had low-self esteem and the best way to stop negative bids for attention was to empower victims so they could either stand up for themselves or ignore the behavior altogether.

Other student suggestions to stop bullying and harassment were also read by staffers at the assembly. These included establishing a “bully box” for anonymous reporting of problems, placing “undercover bully detectives” in gathering places, providing anger management counseling for perpetrators, establishing a “Peacemaker Award” for those who didn’t bully, and having tougher disciplinary action taken against problem individuals. These recommendations have been forwarded to principal Bob Dais to review and possibly put into place. The students also signed a pledge to respect differences by not bullying others, and report any problems immediately.

At the May 2 gathering, Hicks reminded her audience that it was not only bad behavior to bully and harass their peers, it was also a punishable crime to make threats, touch people without permission or challenge them to a fight.

“I fully expect you all to be role models and treat each other with dignity and respect,” Hicks said.

She plans to carry the same message to students at Wy’east Middle School and Cascade Locks School, the other two facilities she serves through the Community Policing Program.

“Some kids hurt each other’s feelings on a regular basis and don’t even realize what they have done — it’s my goal to have students make more informed choices and take more responsibility for their actions,” Hicks said.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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