By Julie Johansen
Emery School District sponsored a Youth Protection Seminar Thursday evening at the Spartan Center Little Theatre. Superintendent Davis welcomed participants by explaining that this was a mandated seminar and the district had tried for three years unsuccessfully to accomplish it. However, now that individual schools were involved and some incentives had been issued they were pleased with the number of attendees at the seminar.
The Emery High Youth Coalition was introduced by counselor and organization adviser, Ashley Jensen. Student presenters from the coalition were Erin Oliverson, Allison Woolsey, Aubreyona Migliori, and Jayla Weston. They presented a short video clip from Parents Empowered and compared local to national statistics on substance abuse. They also reported on a survey given to parents at the time of registration compared to the same survey given to students. This survey showed a discrepancy between what parents thought and what students answered. They outlined 6 steps for parents to follow to help students. 1) Consistency, 2) Get Involved, 3) Be aware, 4) Don’t underestimate the problem, 5) Have clear expectations, 6) Talk to your student. Their final statement packed a punch: “Maintain a good relationship with them, not at them.”
The Mental Health and Sexual Abuse presenters were introduced by Ryan Maughn, district supervisor of student services. Suicide Prevention was discussed by Greg Cowan from the Hope Squad. He outlined the QPR – Question, Persuade, Refer – response to potential suicide victims. Suicide comes from temporary feelings of hopelessness and usually last 24 hours or less. It is important to just get the victim through that period of time. He reported there have been 11 suicides in Carbon and Emery County this year, excluding drug over doses. He invited everyone to the Hope meetings that take place on the second Tuesday of each month at 8:30 a.m. These meetings are hosted at the Health Department in Price.
Jonathan Fauver, Four Corners Community Behavioral Health, also stressed in his presentation that it is a short period of time in which everything culminates against the individual and their vision becomes so bleak that they cannot see any other solution. It is critical to recognize the signs of suicide. Everyone should be able to ask the question, “Have you thought about hurting yourself?” He stressed that it is a myth that asking questions just implants the idea. FCCBH is conducting a Mental Health First Aid Training on November 29 and 30, four hours each day and is available to everyone.
Maughn then directed the section on sexual abuse where he outlined two actions: Educate and Engage. He highlighted things to look for in students, i.e. bedwetting, refusal to discuss, different behaviors, or significant behavior changes. Maughn also stressed that parents need to teach children what is right and what is not. Teach your child self-worth and that they are able to approach you with anything. The child abuse report number is 855-232-3237.
Internet Safety was also discussed, lead by Doug Johnson, Supervisor of Instructional Technology. Some guidelines for parents given were to ask questions about what students are doing, to have computers in an open and public space, install filters, (parents are best filters), check browser logs and phone logs often. Johnson stressed that if they are empty, this signifies a red flag as someone is deleting them. Warn students about keeping their private personal information secure. Technology can be addictive. A secure web site will have an https in front of the address.
Jed Jensen, Supervisor of Secondary Education, spoke about bullying and hazing. Supervisor of Elementary Education, Ralph Worthen introduced Garrett Conover and Jared Curtis from the Emery County Sheriff’s Department. They discussed some of the drugs that law enforcement is encountering in Emery County including: Ecstasy, Heroin, Molly, and Fentanyl. Drugs Pink and Spice are being abused state wide but are not prominent in Emery County.