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Herricks Middle School Students Learn How to Help Others

In support of an ongoing emphasis on mindfulness, Herricks Middle School welcomed an impactful program on Nov. 21. All eighth-graders attended the presentation entitled, “Say Something,” provided by the Sandy Hook Promise organization.

The initiative intends to help increase mental health awareness and stop violence in schools by teaching students to speak up and say something. Debra Caputo, a Long Island Crisis Center representative and expert in the field of mental health care, led an informative and moving assembly that equipped students with tools and knowledge that can help prevent threatening situations.

“Everyone needs to learn about mental health and violence in schools,” Ms. Caputo said. She underscored the many measures that Herricks schools take to provide secure environments. “Teachers are trained to keep you safe, there is security in every building and there are many protocols.”

The presentation covered the warning signs, signals and threats that students should be aware of in others and taught them to act immediately and take these situations seriously. They were advised to say something to a trusted adult and to let the experts assess the sign, signal or threat.

Ms. Caputo reviewed the difference between saying something and telling on someone. As stated in a slideshow that was shared, “When you act, you could save someone’s life or the lives of others.” Students were encouraged to be upstanders, not bystanders, and were informed that “individuals want to be helped – they may not understand that they need it, or don’t know how to get it.”

All across the district, Herricks schools have been focusing on mindfulness this school year. Students have been learning to be self-aware and manage their thoughts and emotions through activities such as breathing exercises, meditation and yoga. The “Say Something” program reinforced the importance of healthy mindsets, emotions and behaviors.