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From Mr. Weatherholt

December, 2017

High School Counselors to Meet with 8th Graders in January


            On January 31th the Seward High School Counselors will be meeting with the 8th graders to go over high school registration for the 2018-2019 school year. They will talk to the students about what classes are available to 9th graders, provide them with information on the schedule, and answer any questions. Students will be provided with a registration handbook, which will also be available on the Seward Public School website. They will also provide them with a registration form that will be due on February 6th.

            As parents please spend some time talking with your child about classes in high school.  This is all new to them and they need guidance from both their counselors as well as their parents. If you have any questions please contact Mrs. Baker or Mr. Fields at Seward High School or myself at Seward Middle School. 



Bully Response Team


            At Seward Middle School we have defined bullying as unwanted, harmful, repeated acts towards a person or group which involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The Bully Response Team, also known as the BRT, works hard to address and deal with bullying at Seward Middle School. The ‘team’ is made up of 7th and 8th graders who have gone through a selection process. SMS students are encouraged to go to a member of the team or go to one of the sponsors of the team if they suspect there is a bullying situation occurring. Undoubtedly their biggest job is to be the eyes against bullying in our school. We do not want our students to be bystanders as bullying is taking place. 

            Some of the activities the BRT are involved with are interventions with bullies and victims, providing posters on the walls of the school, making announcements, and making presentations. Last year the BRT kids are planned an activity called “sit with me” at lunch. It involved kids breaking away from their normal group and sitting with other kids they normally don’t sit with. The goal was that kids will develop relationships with other kids and hopefully make a connection with someone who they normally don’t hang out with. We feel like it was a success and are planning to do another one this school year sometime. 

            Members and sponsors meet every week and amongst other things talk about how to react to bullying when it is experienced or observed. Mr. Marroquin and Mr. Weatherholt are the sponsors of the team. 




         First Winter Season Winding Down


            We are in the middle of the first winter sports season at Seward Middle School. Right now the girls basketball teams are competing and doing very well. The 8th graders won the Seward Invitation Tournament and the 7th grade team got 2nd place. That Tournament took place on November 28 and 30. The wrestling season is also going strong.  The wrestlers will complete their season on December 16th in the Seward Middle School Wrestling Invitational. 

            Coaches have done an outstanding job and the kids have all been working hard to get better and improve their skills. Nate Stepp and Hans Eickmeier are the coaches for the wrestling team. Vance Winter, Tyler Beranek, and Kate Jungck are the coaches for girls basketball. The boys basketball season will begin in January. 



The following is an Article from the SCIP (School Community Intervention Program) December newsletter:


Understanding Self-Harm


What is Self-Harm?

Self-harm, also referred to as self-injury, is the act of purposely hurting oneself.  Self-harm is not a mental illness but a behavior in response to emotional distress.  However, several illnesses can be associated with self-harm including anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder.   Self-harm occurs most often during the teenage years and onset usually begins between 12 and 15 years of age.  Research shows that more girls engage in self-harming behavior compared to boys.  According to the 2016 Nebraska Risk and Protective Factor Survey, 12.2% of 8th graders, 14.3 % of 10th graders and 11.3% of 12th graders report inflicting self-harm in the past 12 months.   Nationally, approximately 15% of teens report some form of self-injury. 

The act of self-harm can come in many forms, but the most common methods include:

  • Skin Cutting (70%-90%)
  • Head Banging or Hitting (21%-44%)
  • Burning (15%-35%)

It should be noted that most individuals who engage in non-suicidal self-injury hurt themselves in more than one way. 


Why Do People Self-Harm?

Self-harm is most often an attempt to interrupt strong emotions and pressures that seem impossible to tolerate.  While research indicates there is no single cause of self-harm, possible reasons why some people self-harm include:

  • A way of coping with problems
  • A way of expressing feelings that can’t be put into words
  • Distract from stressors of life
  • Release emotional pain (emptiness, guilt, rage)

Those that self-harm often report that it is easier to feel the physical pain of self-injury than it is to deal with emotional pain that may be triggering the behavior.  However, self-harm only provides a temporary relief.  It is like slapping a Band-Aid on a gaping wound when stitches are needed.  Thus, the underlying reasons that may trigger self-harm behaviors remain if they aren’t addressed.   Discovering what is fueling the urge of the behavior is a necessary step in recovery.  Possible triggers may include:

  • Difficulties at home
  • Intense thoughts or memories
  • Arguments or problems with friends
  • Bullying
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Transitions and changes (i.e. divorce, loss of a loved one, changing schools)

Signs of Self-Harm

Signs of self-harm will vary depending upon the person but warning signs may include:

  • Scarring from cuts and burn on parts of the body that can be hidden from clothing.
  • Recurring new wounds such as scrapes, cuts or abrasions, lacerations or bruises.
  • Keeping sharp objects nearby at all times.
  • Injuries are always attributed to an “accident”.
  • Needing to be alone for long periods of time (especially in bedroom or bathroom).
  • Chronic interpersonal challenges leading to social withdrawal and isolation.
  • Following the self-injury, the individual may experience severe distress, guilt and shame.

Intervention: How to Help?

If you are concerned that someone you know may be self-harming, there are a number of supportive strategies that can help guide the individual to help.  At the same time, there are some non-supportive actions of which to be aware.  First and foremost, avoid judgement or criticism as this can cause the individual to withdraw even more and perpetuate the cycle of self-harm.  Secondly, don’t assume that the behavior is a means to get attention; take every sign seriously.   To offer support, the following is recommended:

  • Learn about the problem- understanding why he/she may be self-harming can help you see the world from his/her eyes.
  • Listen- by listening you can better understand what is happening and why.
  • Be supportive and offer encouragement- let them know you are available whenever they want to talk or need support.
  • Encourage communication- bring up the subject in a caring, non-confrontational way so that he/she feels safe talking about their feelings. i.e. “I’ve noticed injuries on your body, and I want to understand what you’re going through”.
  • Encourage them to seek help- A trained professional can assist in developing new coping techniques and strategies to stop self-harming, while helping to get to the root of the self-harm behavior.

For additional guidance, the below link to the resource guide from the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery, Information for Parents: What you need to know about self-injury, is a great place to start.   S.A.F.E Alternatives is likewise an informative online resource and information line.


S.A.F.E. Alternatives:

Information Line (1-800-DONT-CUT)

Website: https://selfinjury.com/

References: National Alliance on Mental Illness; Mental Health America; American Psychological Association; American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

From Mr. Weatherholt

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