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WJ practices awareness


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When seen fit, Walter Johnson administrators alter the daily schedule for assemblies, drills or other relevant presentations.. As of late, the WJ community has been showered with presentations and activities aimed at boosting self esteem and relieving stress of students. Though the fun that is had with such stress relieving activities, administration has made it apparent that students are educated about mental health issues and recognize the signs of depression or suicide.

Principal Jennifer Baker organized two days, April 16 and 17, in which counselors and school psychologists visit classrooms and discuss the body language or actions someone makes to suggest they are considering suicide. Students felt the days were a good use of time, but had differing opinions of the videos. Teachers were comfortable giving up a class period to make depression and suicide on student’s radar and to help the student population be there for each other.

Junior Corey Criss learned a lot while in the training. “It was so great the way [the counselor] told us to let people know if someone was in danger and that it’s ok to be sad. Also that we are being good friends even by going against a friend having suicidal thoughts by telling someone and getting help.” said Criss.

Teachers and students also participated in a school shooter drill that took place on April 19 in all sixth period classes. Students and teachers were taught the procedures to take in the case of a lockdown emergency. The drill also went over what to do during a shelter in place in the event that all students and staff must stay in the building. New techniques were introduced including the announcement of a siren that would go off in the case of an emergency which was announced in an email from Principle Baker.

Junior Eleanor Wright saw the benefits from teaching and reviewing the procedures to do while in an emergency situation, but her classmates felt otherwise.

“I felt they were appropriate for recent events but, no one in my class took them seriously, everyone was on their phone and our teacher didn’t seem to care. So it wasn’t effective, maybe for other classes it was.” said Wright.

Once the drills were over and security had checked every classroom, Terry Heintze, the freshman administrator and organizer of the drills, came over the intercom and thanked teachers and students for being cooperative and helping with the success of the drills.

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WJ practices awareness