FCS and Cyber Bullying

Welcome back to the Connect FCS Ed podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in, listening and sharing. I think our stories are most impactful when we share our resources and secrets and trades and tricks and strategies, just because we are truly better together. And with that better together in mind, I want to talk about a heavy subject, mental health.

So, we are in full swing of the holidays and what does that mean for our students? What does that look like? I know with you listening in your homes, in your cars, folding laundry, going grocery shopping, or lesson planning for future lessons, we are all impacted by our students and what choices they make. I have the unfortunate experience the other day where I got an email from my daughters, both of my daughters’ high school, sharing the tragic news that a peer in my youngest daughter’s freshman class had committed suicide. Unfortunately, I know with you, my audience of amazing teachers, probably several of you have been impacted by the death of a student due to suicide, and with that, I am so sorry, and I’m sure you carry them in your heart and wishing there was some small way that maybe you could have made a difference. But with this young woman over the weekend, I don’t know the specifics, but the fact that they’re ruling it as a suicide, my heart broke. My heart broke for the students, family, the student, and that ripple effect.

I was talking to my own kids about this, my own daughters saying, you don’t understand how much you mean to so many people. You might think, Oh, these are my core group of friends, and this is my family, and beyond that, I don’t make an impact, or I don’t make a difference. We have to figure out a way to get through to their brains that they make a difference. So I have been doing some research just within the last 24 hours, that I would like to share with you on this episode…


 •  But I do go through my daughter’s phones. And my youngest, my freshman age daughter, she’s gotten her phone taken away from her quite a few times, just because the way she interacts through text messages to various friends, and then she doesn’t have mental health issues per se, but she does struggle with self-esteem issues, that awareness factor and also, she’s a type 1 diabetic, so that has another little layer added to it. (5:46)

• They don’t have the experience, they don’t have the experience to say, this is hard right now, but I can get through it, tomorrow is a better day. For a lot of these kids, my goodness, tomorrow hasn’t been better, and they just see the same pattern from previous generations and they don’t see a way out. We need to figure out how to give them a path to a way out, that’s why we need these mental health classes. We also need to talk about these types of issues more often, have more authentic and transparent conversations with our students while in class, either face-to-face or virtual. (8:40)

• Because the grief cycle is a cycle, you don’t know when it’s going to crop up. You can be watching a movie, and then all of a sudden a movie can trigger that grief and you don’t know where you’re going to land, it’s like Russian roulette. Honestly, you could start off in the angry session, or you could be just sad, so sad, but that’s the thing about grief, you just don’t know where you’re going to land and when a trigger is going to come up. She still sees this counselor from time to time via Zoom and just talking. And that’s what our kids need, they need to be heard. We are in a powerful position as teachers, we can tear down a student with the shortest bit of feedback, but also at the same time, we can lift them up to where they feel like they can move mountains. (12:43)

•  But we need to figure out a way to combat cyber bullying and talk about mental health. We have to, because if we don’t, nobody else is going to. So, I shared with my class about the tragic incident of this beautiful red-haired, blue-eyed fair skin child, and it was pointless, the loss of life due to cyber bullying, it’s a waste. But her life was not wasted because through her tragedy, I’m standing at the mic talking about her. And I’m sure many of you who have experienced something like this are now thinking of maybe a student that you’ve had and how your school was impacted by it. There are resources out there to help. There’s a resource for parents called sptsusa.org, and it’s a valuable resource helping you talk to your kids about suicide. It’s called the Society for Prevention of teen suicide, and it gives useful facts in the many national crisis resources and contacts, to be able to give you the support system that you need to be able to pass that on. Because we do have to talk about this. (19:16)


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• Society for Prevention of Teen Suicide: sptsusa.org

December 16, 2020

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