Lynne Hermansen
Special to The Gardner News
Suicide awareness and prevention was the main focus at Sept. 16 night’s school board meeting.
Tanise Smith was introduced by Melissa McIntire, student support services coordinator, as the district’s new co-responder with Jessica Smith, Johnson County Mental Health Lead. Smith, the GEHS and Johnson County Mental Health have partnered together to bridge mental health with the schools. The program is a month old.
McIntire said the program has already helped ten students.
“It, also, gives the counselors and social workers support and comfort,” she said.
Pam Stranahan, superintendent, said Murphy supervises with law enforcement as part of her role as the team lead with Johnson County Mental Health.
“Communication is very strong,” she said. “This is very preventative, where things are toppling in a student’s life bringing them back to balance.”
McIntire and Stranahan both said Smith has been phenomenal in her role as the student support services coordinator.
The board then presented on the new #ZeroReasonsWhy Program and Campaign.
T-shirts were made for free and handed out to high school students in GEHS last year. This year they will be given to all 5th through 12th grade students in the District.
An online store open to anyone is coming soon, and board members in attendance were wearing the campaign shirts.
The county-wide teen suicide prevention campaign seeks to find more mental health access for area students and empower a community to come together to stop the epidemic of suicide.
GEHS was selected as one of 35 schools in the United States for mental health first aid training. The program will be tested on 10th graders in the district.
A suicide proclamation was read by board member Shawn Carlisle, president, recognizing September as National Suicide Month.
“One person dies by suicide every 11.9 minutes, and it is the second cause of death in 15 to 24 year olds in the State of Kansas,” he said. “This is for citizens of the community to come together, recognize and participate in preventing suicide.
Trail Ridge Middle School students presented a new initiative Husky Families.
“It addresses social and emotional characteristics, relationships and connection,” Amanda Malone, 7th grade teacher, said.
Fifth through eighth grade students meet in small groups of 12 once a month for a mini lesson, discussion and activity.
Students told the board that a family is one that loves and cares for you and proves to be there for you at all times, but doesn’t have to be related.
Samantha Scoggins, eighth grader, said it is the people closest to you that you can trust the most.
“I am the anti-social teenager,” she said. “I have enjoyed sharing my sense of humor. Huskie families is great for our school and a lot of new connections are made.”
Edgerton Elementary students and their 4th grade student council also presented to the board on their partnership with Johnson County Sheriff’s Department to teach safety from tornado, fire, walking, bicycling and more.
Jennie Adrain, principal, said the students will be creating message and topics for videos that will be shown during morning announcements to help all students be safe and demonstrate different safety issues that will be used throughout all Johnson County schools.