Newspaper Archive of
Hells Canyon Journal
Halfway, Oregon
May 27, 1998     Hells Canyon Journal
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May 27, 1998

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Page 8 Hells Canyon Journal May 27, 1998 Oregon Dept. of Education Reports School Safety Data by Norma Paulus (Editor's note: Following the tragic shooting by a 15- year-old student at Thukston High School near Springfield, State Schools Superintendent Norma Paulus released the following school safety data, edited for length, on May 23.) In the 1996-97 school year, 85 Oregon students were ex- pelled for carrying firearms such as handguns, rifles and shotguns to school. Please note this figure relates to only 81 percent of the total stu- dent enrollment of about 540,000 students because sev- eral schools -- many in Port- land -- did not report infor- mation to the Oregon Depart- ment of Education in the 1996-97 school year. An additional 600 students were expelled for carrying other weapons such as knives and clubs to school. Again, this figure encompassed only 81 percent of the total stu- dent enrollment because sev- eral schools, notably Port- land, did not report informa- tion. The recently released 1997 Oregon Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed that within a given month: • Two percent of Oregon stu- dents grades 9 - 12 reported carrying a gun as a weapon onto school property; • 11 percent reported carry- ing another weapon (such as a knife or club) onto school property; • 3 percent missed school because they felt unsafe there; • 7 percent were threatened or injured with a weapon on school property. The survey also showed that, over a year's time, at least 13 percent of students were involved in a physical fight at school. All these fig- ures were virtually un- changed from a similar sur- vey taken in 1995. Suggested Next Steps for Schools, Parents, Students What Schools Can Do Develop programs that identify antisocial behavior in young children and help them develop positive social skills. Do this in conjunction with other local programs that help children, including family support agencies, mental health services, county juvenile departments and law enforcement agencies. An effective program will help students develop: * Healthy behavior patterns, including leadership and school success; * Healthy beliefs and clear standards of honesty and integrity; • Attachment and commitment to family, community, school and peers. Other recommendations for schools include: • Attend the Violence Prevention Summer Institute, June 13 - 15 at Oregon State University. The institute will help schools develop community partnerships that promote school safety. Contact John Lenssen of the Oregon Department of Education (503) 378-5585, ext. 678. • Develop a list of counseling and other problem-solving resources and distribute to parents. • Review with students their responsibility to report to a responsible adult any threatening conversation or behavior. • Develop peer groups to help students in trouble. Groups could involve peer mediation, anger management or coping with depression. • Secure a law enforcement commitment to intervene when the school identifies a student who has made a threatening comment. • Send a letter from the superintendent or principal to all parents. Review the safety measures that are in place in the school or district; list steps the school or district is taking to increase campus security, seek parent support for security measures. What Parents Can Do * Show respect for children and listen to them. Encourage them to try new skills and learn from mistakes. Treat them as responsible family members and allow them to experience the satisfaction of completing their own work. • Constantly remind children that there are multiple solutions to virtually every problem and there is no problem that cannot be solved. • Treat guns and violence as permanent non-solutions to temporary problems. • Watch for signs of rising anxiety in the first few days after a tragedy occurs. Watch for these warning signs of potential violence: • Harming animals. This behavior is often found in children who have been severely physically or sexually abused. • Throwing recks and other dangerous objects. • Threatening violence. Threats should be taken seriously, espe.cially if the youngster describes how he or she would hurt someone else. • Withdrawing from usual social activities. • Showing a strong interest in guns or violence. What Students Can Do • Report threatening speech or behavior to a responsible adult. Don't try to determine if the treat is real or not; that is the adult's responsibility. . Establish a mutually respectful relationship with a caring adult on campus. This is essential to an ongoing feeling of safety at school. Have a personal management plan, a set of mental steps to go through when problems cause anger. The steps should include: • Pausing to calm down; this helps you think rationally. • Identify the problem. • Identify the consequence of taking violent action. • Thinking of nonviolent alternative actions that will resolve the problem. • Help other students by becoming a peer mentor or mediator. What Is Second-Hand Smoke ? Second-hand smoke is the smoke breathed out by smok- ers and the smoke from the burning end of a cigarette, cigar or pipe. Exposure to sec- ond-hand smoke is called in- voluntary smoking, or pas- sive smoking. It's not easy to avoid sec- ond-hand smoke because one in about every four people smoke. Why Should You Worry About Second-Hand Smoke? Secondhand smoke causes about 3,000 deaths each year from lung cancer in people who don't smoke. It causes irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, and can also irri- tate the lungs. Second-hand smoke has been estimated to cause about 37,000 deaths from heart disease in non- smokers each year. Second-Hand Smoke Especially Hurts Children Children whcLbreathe sec- ond-hand smoke are more likely to suffer from pneumo- nia, bronchitis and other lung diseases. Children who breathe second-hand smoke have more ear infections and are more likely to develop asthma. What If You Smoke? Never smoke around chil- dren. Children are especially sensitive to the dangers of second-hand smoke. If you smoke, try to smoke only in an open area away from your family. If you would like more in- formation about secondhand smoke, please contact Jarri MeClarin, project coordina- tor for the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Coalition of Baker County At (541) 523- 5814, or call The American Lung Association at 1-800- LUNC USA. s the Have you seen the ads that say no-frills auto insurance is cheaper? I, respectfully, disagi-ee. Before you buy, please ask yourself whether their coverage is less expensive in the long run. The COUNTRY COMP IESฎ offer you competitive rates, plus special services and accounts like our Auto-Home Advantage that make us a better buy. Call me for details and a free quote. NeE G oue Linda Gorham 523-2212 C6~/ering Baker, Union and Wallowa counties aurence' $ 1124 Adams Ave. P.O. Box 927 La Grande, OR 97850 Jack Laurence Nil[ I II II glte frienblg pla e mt .kbant i .......... • • : PHONE963-5982: