Portsmouth City Schools are participating in “If You See Something, Say Something Week,” March 13-17, with a series of events at the high school and elementary buildings to remind students about the importance of speaking up to help another student in need.
"If You See Something, Say Something" is a national campaign, in conjunction with the Sandy Hook Promise, that raises public awareness of the indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, or any kind of distress that a student may experience or witness.
On Monday, high school students watched a video from the Sandy Hook Promise about how the signs of someone in distress can often go unnoticed. Teachers are asked to hang papers in their classroom that identify them as a trusted adult who students can speak in confidence about any concerns they have regarding their own safety and needs or that of another student.
“I wanted the kids to identify who their trusted adults would be if they were ever in crisis. From the few people I’ve been around today who have got these papers from the kids, it’s really been an eye-opener, and it’s been a pick-me-up for them that they are someone’s trusted adults,” High School Principal Doug Poage said.
Poage said students and staff are asked to check in on others who have been acting out of character, stopped talking to others, or have experienced big changes in their lives.
“One of the questions asked in the video is ‘how many times have you noticed this and just thought it was none of your business?’ We want them to get out of that comfort zone and realize that maybe it is their business,” he said.
Students at Portsmouth Elementary and East Portsmouth Elementary are also learning the warning signs of violence this week and how to get help. Students took a pledge to be an “up-stander” and say something when they see another person in distress, and they created a handprint banner and tree for the Sandy Hook Promise. Elementary staff also participated in the trusted adult program with students.
“Programs like this are important to keep our schools safe and to help them understand that it’s not snitching when they’re telling something that could prevent others from being hurt,” said Portsmouth Elementary Principal Beth Born.
For more information about Portsmouth City Schools, visit them online at www.portsmouthtrojans.net, or follow the school’s page on Facebook.