McNicholas raises awareness for Healthy Relationships Month

By Maggie Deller

February is Healthy Relationships Month, and McNicholas High School took steps to bring awareness to it. Director of Counseling and College Readiness Alaina Way taught students on how to differentiate between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy relationship during advisory homeroom on Feb. 7 and 15.

Characteristics of a healthy relationship include, “mutual respect and trust, individuality – it’s important to be your own person outside of the relationship –, [being] supportive of each other, [and the] ability to compromise,” Way said.

Characteristics of an unhealthy relationship include, “one person trying to control the other, extreme jealousy, if [a partner] is always trying to see your phone or want to know who you’re with all the time, manipulation and coercion – such as ‘if you love me you would…’ –, and verbal, sexual, and emotional abuse,” Way said.

According to NO MORE, one in ten high school students has been physically abused by a partner. They also reported that one in three young people will experience abuse while dating. According to Mary Kay’s 2014 Truth About Abuse Survey, 57% of teens and young people who were in an abusive relationship waited six or more months before they got help.

“I think it is easy to be blinded by [an abusive] relationship when you’re in it and you might not necessarily be aware you’re in one,” Way said. “We hope to empower friends to speak up for each other and to empower people to know what is not okay and to be able to speak up for themselves.”

If you think someone you know may be in an unhealthy relationship, “you can approach your friend directly and make sure it’s coming from a caring place,” Way said. “Another option is to talk with an adult you trust.” If you think someone you know may be in an abusive relationship, you should speak with an adult immediately, Way said.

Way said, “If you think you might be in an unhealthy relationship, talk with someone you trust because it is important to get an outsider’s point of view.”

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Students and staff wear orange to support Healthy Relationship Month on Feb. 13. Seniors Jacob Smucker and James Ehlers, SAIL Program Chair Renee Herndon, seniors Grace Turner, Francesca Lopreato, and Thomas Moore, sophomore Kristin Davis, senior Sam Veeneman, freshman Kristen Van Huss, English Department Chair Angie Noble, administrative assistant Jennifer Tumser (’00), and Director of Communications and Marketing Shannon Kaap posed for a photo to showcase their orange attire.
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School counselors Matt Wehrman and Kaitlyn Richter and seniors Natalie Martinez, Nicholas Wynn, Kiley Byrne, and Ben Rodell also wear orange to support Healthy Relationship Month. Rockets were allowed to come to school out of uniform sporting the color orange to support healthy relationships.

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