An afternoon scuffle sent a Hermiston student to the hospital last week, and school officials say theyre taking steps to curb any future violence similar to what they called an isolated incident.
A Hermiston police log entry from Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 4:24 p.m. reported a student arriving at the Good Shepherd Medical Center emergency room with injuries suffered at Sandstone Middle School.
The hospital declined to discuss the students treatment or status, citing government privacy regulations and hospital policy on the release of patient information.
Sandstone Principal Neely Kirwan said the student suffered relatively minor injuries. Kirwan would not reveal the students gender or grade.
She said physical violence is something she rarely sees at Sandstone, and the school has installed practices to try to prevent future incidents from occurring.
Larry Usher, dean of students at Sandstone, does a remarkable job with discipline and working with the students in her halls, the principal said.
Forced to act reactively in these situations, the school is proactive regarding bullying and harassment, Kirwan added.
Hermiston Police Lieutenant Jason Edmiston said an officer responded to the call at Good Shepherd after a parent reported the incident.
On Monday, he said the Sandstone school resource officer is still following up on the incident from last Wednesday, and his departments investigation is ongoing.
In the near future, the Sandstone Middle School will begin the Desert Hawk Challenge, a program that will ask students to take a pledge against using force to solve disagreements.
It will focus more on the bystanders at Sandstone, Kirwan said, not necessarily on possible bullies or victims, asking students to speak up when they see verbal or physical violence happen.
Stacie Roberts, dean of students at Armand Larive Middle School, echoed Kirwans comments and said her school is looking to implement a similar program to the Desert Hawk Challenge.
She said Debbie Sprong, a counselor at both middle schools in Hermiston, talked with sixth grade students at Armand Larive about teasing and bullying a few weeks ago.
This week, Sprong is giving bullying presentations at the school.
Were going to go over what it looks like, how to handle it and what a bystander can do if they observe it, Roberts said.
The last step bystander intervention is important, she said, because some people freeze in that scenario.
Some students do not have enough confidence to stand up for themselves in situations, Roberts said.
Trudy Ludwig, childrens author and public speaker, visited McNary Heights, Sunset and Highland Hills Elementary Schools in late September this year.
Along with the upcoming programs at the Hermiston middle schools, Roberts said administrators are looking to encourage actions that force instigators to check themselves.
We want our students to be able to stand up and say, Hey, this isnt right, she said.