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LHS spreads awareness during Granite State Respect Week

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LHS spreads awareness during Granite State Respect Week

Poster hangs on a wall in the school to spread the word about Granite State Respect Week.

Poster hangs on a wall in the school to spread the word about Granite State Respect Week.

Photo by Marissa McKay

Poster hangs on a wall in the school to spread the word about Granite State Respect Week.

Photo by Marissa McKay

Photo by Marissa McKay

Poster hangs on a wall in the school to spread the word about Granite State Respect Week.

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Last week, the halls of LHS were covered wall to wall with posters and sticky notes displaying words like “respect” and “speak out” as a part of Granite State Respect Week.

From Feb. 11-15, LHS celebrated this week for the second year in a row to teach students about healthy relationships.

“Katie Clark, who is our school to community officer, she had put it on last year on a smaller scale,” health teacher Holly Lafore said. “This year, I had randomly found out about it. Mrs. Treadway and I were both sent emails about it. We asked about it, and Katie said that she could use some help, so now all three of us are doing it together.”

The goal of the week was to spread awareness about unhealthy relationships, especially between teenagers.

“Just working with my students and listening to their stories about their relationships with friends or more romantic, I think that it’s just so important for kids to understand the role they play in relationships and what relationships are supposed to be like,” Lafore said.

She wants people to be more responsive to unhealthy or abusive relationships, so people can better recognize the signs.

“I feel like so many times relationships are abusive, and not just physically,” Lafore said. “There’s a lot more to it. There’s controlling and jealousy, and how we handle that. I think that it’s hard for kids to understand a lot of that about themselves in a relationship. I just want to bring more awareness to what a relationship is supposed to look like.”

Lafore said she thinks it is important for people to know the signs of unhealthy relationships and to get themselves out of those situations.

“A couple things that are really dangerous are obviously any type of peer pressure, making someone feel like they have to do something in order to be with somebody. That’s not loving or caring for someone,” Lafore said. “The way you treat and respect somebody and the way you talk to and talk about them. If you’re using kind and positive words towards them, or are you always putting them down and making them feel like lesser of a person. That’s really harmful.”

Along with not being kind to others, another unhealthy sign is trying to control and influence someone else in ways they are not comfortable with.

“Any type of physical or sexual abuse is not appropriate at all in a relationship,” Lafore said. “If someone isn’t ready to do something, you should be respecting that. It’s really the lack of respect and caring for that person and understanding what that person needs and wants. It’s like what are you in the relationship for? Is it because you really care about that person, or is it because you’re looking for more of a controlling factor?”

To celebrate this week, the freshman health and wellness classes made posters and sticky notes that were hung around the school.

“A lot of people were commenting on how awesome the posters look,” Lafore said. “They’re bringing awareness to the building that something is going on this week. That bright color orange is definitely calling attention to people.”

The posters did receive some mixed reviews, especially from the student body.

“I think people are reading the posters, but kind of ignoring them and making fun of them,” freshman Ella Houghton said. “I don’t think they’re getting the job done. Most kids just think that they’re stupid.”

However, even if some students aren’t paying attention to them, as long as they reached the people that they needed to, Lafore thinks they did their job.

“I had a student come to me the other day, after she was in the cafeteria during lunch time and saw the posters,” Lafore said. “She came and talked to me about where she was in her relationship, just randomly. She asked me what I thought about this or if this was healthy or not. I think the posters are just bringing some awareness, and I think some students and teachers need it. I heard some teachers saying ‘oh, this would be really good for my friend.’ It’s everybody. We’re all in relationships.”

Lafore and the other health teachers also planned group learning activities for C period classes to do last Tuesday and Thursday to get people to participate in the week.

“I think people should just appreciate what the school is doing for them and for bringing awareness to this,” Lafore said. “Whether, the teachers do the activities or just hand it out to their students, we’re just trying to make it a school community event, so it gets everyone involved. If everyone can just take a little time and reflect on where they’re at in their relationships, I think it would be perfect.”

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LHS spreads awareness during Granite State Respect Week