Many of you have been reading things online, in the news and on Facebook about an alleged yearbook bullying incident at Glacier Middle School during the last week of school.
Despite the many harsh and disturbing things adults said about the staff at Glacier and the White River School District on Facebook, it is important to me that you know Glacier is still an amazing place to go to school.
As a student for three years at Glacier Middle School, the recent bullying incident saddened my heart, as did the hurtful things parents were commenting on a Facebook post based on little information.
In the three years I attended Glacier Middle School, I was rewarded with mostly positive experiences, plentiful growth and leadership opportunities, kind friends, and a caring team of teachers and administrators.
For as long as I have been going to Glacier, I have volunteered at almost every single school event in the evening which included open houses, family and bingo nights and even PTSA meetings.
The noticeable lack of parent presence can be disappointing and it sucks because so many people are putting in the extra time and effort to get more families involved.
The responsibility of helping to diminish bullying must be an equal partnership of White River staff, students and parents.
Instead of adults taking to Facebook and attacking and labeling a great school and its staff, maybe stepping up and truly getting involved at the middle school level in any way possible would be better for everyone.
We, as students, cannot take the necessary steps towards diminishing bullying without the support of our parents. The real work begins at home. It starts with both student and their parent taking responsibility for their actions while the school district upholds their responsibilities.
This year, more than ever, I noticed that Glacier staff had been talking to students more about bullying and making sure that the definition of bullying and intimidation was made known to every student.
Teachers had also been even more diligent at writing office referrals and lunch detentions to students who were disruptive in their classrooms.
Not only did staff do what they could, but the student leadership team did everything they could in their power to make students more self-aware of bullying which included a “Be You” campaign.
The “Be You” campaign encouraged students to be themselves, be brave by standing up to bullying and embrace their fellow classmate’s differences. The leadership team promoted this positive campaign by hanging posters with positive messages of courage and self-love in the hallways, bathrooms and in every classroom on campus with the goal of making Glacier a more positive place to be for 6 1/2 hours a day, five days a week.
I am very proud of my Glacier Middle School classmates and staff and all they have accomplished in the last three years.
This one incident does not define Glacier as a school, a district, or a community.
I have no doubt that Glacier and the entire White River School District will continue to work hard to maintain a safe, bully-free environment for all students.
It would be huge disappointment if we allowed a Facebook post of disheartening comments to label such a great school as a place that brews a bullying atmosphere.
I encourage every parent and student to get involved at all grade levels and schools.
If you would like to see changes take place — families have to get involved.
Your presence and involvement will help make Glacier Middle School become an even more safe and positive place to succeed.
We as a school and community won’t give up on the fight against bullying and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish moving forward with the support of everyone!
Natalie Gomez is a 2017 graduate of Glacier Middle School.