On Aug. 25, 2021 one Parkway Central student bullied and targeted another student for being part of the LGBTQ+ community. The victim anonymously approached Link Leader Grant Mankowich (12).
As a link leader, although the situation wasn’t ideal, Mankowich was happy that they felt comfortable going to him.
“Personally, I want that to happen because I have dealt with it myself, I know how to handle stuff like that and I would love to help build confidence,” Mankowich said.
Immediately after the underclassman came to him, Mankowich reached out to his fellow seniors in their class GroupMe to make sure that everyone knew what was going on and worked together to figure it out.
Seniors Ethan Winograd and Olivia Saphian were quick to jump in not only to show their support, but come up with solutions to help build the inclusivity at PCH.
Saphian wants to make sure that the students at PCH feel like they have some sort of support system.
“It is important to show support because there are people who are going through this and don’t feel supported,” Saphian said.
Saphian also suggested handing out Pride pins while other seniors suggested having conversations with the students that were involved in the bullying.
Mankowitch, Winograd and Saphian were all blown away at the support and growth from their class when the conversation started.
“I was not expecting that reaction at all, Mankowich said. “I started crying because I was so happy … It doesn’t matter how close all of the seniors are but the fact that they wanted to help change the situation is a positive thing.”
“I think it showed a lot of growth from the seniors,” Saphian said.“ I felt comforted that we all came together.”
Many steps can be taken moving forward to help create a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community and put a stop to the bullying. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) suggests that stepping into the conversation to end bullying is an effective way to lower hate. Educating yourself is another way to make sure that everything you say is correct and accurate so there is no way for misinterpretation.
Grant also explained how this year at PCH has been one of the hardest years in regards to bullying of the LGBTQ+ community and most of that hate is coming from the underclassman.
Winograd wants to see policy to impact change.
“You can say that this is a safe school and we care, but until action starts being put forward, that’s how we can improve,” Winograd said.
In the future, students who hear about these types of situations should talk to the staff at PCH and they can help.
“Teachers have received various levels of training to support students’ emotional needs. In my experience, teachers always want students to come to them with problems so they can assist them or connect them with someone who can provide them with the help they need,” counselor Jenny Lange said.