• March 21 Choral Pops Concert – (PIMS Aud. - 7:00PM)

  • March 21 NMCC Job Fair

  • March 20 Career Fair for all Grade 10 Students at UMPI – Periods 3,4, & 5

  • March 20 Harlem Superstars Athletic Boosters Fundraiser – (L. Gym – 6:00PM)

  • March 20 NHS Blood Drive – (U. Gym – 9:00AM – 2:00PM)

Promotional Video Triggers Memories of Bullying

Former and current students react to 'feel good' message

Seniors+Natasha+Lizotte%2C+Abby+Quirino+and+Jaidyn+Blake+attempt+to+create+awareness+during+their+last+year+of+high+school.+They+expressed+worry+that+administration+doesn%27t+always+deal+with+bullying+fairly.+%22They+should+make+more+of+an+effort+to+gather+both+sides+of+the+story%2C%22+Blake+said.
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Promotional Video Triggers Memories of Bullying

Seniors Natasha Lizotte, Abby Quirino and Jaidyn Blake attempt to create awareness during their last year of high school. They expressed worry that administration doesn't always deal with bullying fairly.

Seniors Natasha Lizotte, Abby Quirino and Jaidyn Blake attempt to create awareness during their last year of high school. They expressed worry that administration doesn't always deal with bullying fairly. "They should make more of an effort to gather both sides of the story," Blake said.

Peyton Day

Seniors Natasha Lizotte, Abby Quirino and Jaidyn Blake attempt to create awareness during their last year of high school. They expressed worry that administration doesn't always deal with bullying fairly. "They should make more of an effort to gather both sides of the story," Blake said.

Peyton Day

Peyton Day

Seniors Natasha Lizotte, Abby Quirino and Jaidyn Blake attempt to create awareness during their last year of high school. They expressed worry that administration doesn't always deal with bullying fairly. "They should make more of an effort to gather both sides of the story," Blake said.

Peyton Day, Staff Writer

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Story updated on 11/20/18.

On Wednesday, October 10 the MSAD1 promotional video was released on Facebook, but not all of the feedback was positive.

“PIHS is a good school, it got me prepared me for a university. But they didn’t protect me.” In an October 10 Facebook post, 2017 PIHS graduate Emma O’Connell spoke out about her experience as a PIHS student who dealt with bullying. Her bully was a former boyfriend, “Super casually we were only [dating] in eighth or ninth grade,” O’Connell said. The two broke up, and that’s when the harassment began.

O’Connell says she went through physical and emotional harassment daily, which still affects her today, six years later.

“People saw what was going on but ignored it. Who’s going to report the son of a powerful staff member?” O’Connell said.

O’Connell says her parents contacted the school three times, but nothing was done. O’Connell went through her high school career dealing with the harassment until her bully moved on.

PIHS Principal Ben Greenlaw does not recall that incident happening how it was described in the Facebook post. He asserts it was dealt with differently and accordingly.

“I don’t want kids to feel like they can’t come talk to us,” Greenlaw said.  “We’ve never turned down a situation. We’ve always dealt with it.”

O’Connell says she wants to help the kids who feel like they don’t have a voice.

“These kids are NOT alone! They need to know that,” O’Connell said. “When you leave Presque Isle (or any other school) you’ll realize how irrelevant those negative opinions and comments were. I waited until now to speak out. It took me six years to even talk about this due to the fear that was instilled in me. To this day I don’t blame my bully; he was young, and he should have been stopped by parents or teachers. Unfortunately, his shared those roles.”

O’Connell doesn’t tell her story as a victim, but as a survivor.

This isn’t the only voice that has spoken out recently. Over the summer, Amanda Kubeck-Sherman, sat outside of Presque Isle High School with a sign that read “MSAD1 Stop The Bullying.” which drew attention to attitudes that run counter to the image presented in the recent promotional video.

Additionally, a current PIHS student, who asked to remain anonymous, spoke out about his experience with bullying. The student feels automatically judged and bullied because of a relative’s actions.

“I don’t know who to ask [for help]. I don’t want to go to the school. I see kids go down to the office for help. If they don’t get the help they’re looking for. I’m nothing special.”

School policy says a bullying event is something that is recurring, and at PIHS Assistant Principal David Bartlett says that an actual event only comes up once or twice a year, but even if it’s a one time thing the situation is addressed appropriately and he believes that 95% of the time the issue is resolved.

“Students need to make sure when something happens they report it right away whether it be to a teacher, counselor, a staff member or trusted adult,” Bartlett said. “The quicker it’s reported, the quicker it’s resolved.”

When a bullying event happens at PIHS, Bartlett says he starts by gathering the information: how it’s occurring, if it’s cyber or direct, he also finds if there are any witnesses, and then he addresses it appropriately.

“It [the bullying] continues outside of school now through social media, which escalates it,” he said. “Before it would happen in school and couldn’t really carry on outside of school. Now with social media, it’s constantly there.”

O’Connell can attest the difficulty of escaping a bully’s reach. “For many kids it doesn’t stop,” she said. Whether it’s through a parent’s protest or a recent graduate’s advocacy efforts, O’Connell believes in speaking up, despite a glossy promotional video’s portrayal of SAD 1. “I want to be a voice for these kids. For the kids who have been bullied for years and are being told to just ‘avoid it’.”

Bullying Hotline

(855)-316-0659

Suicide Hotline

(800)-273-8255

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