Troy students learn perils of making bad choices
By Marianne Eisenbrandt Correspondent February 16, 2013 10:50PM
Updated: March 18, 2013 6:51AM
Troy Middle School seventh- and eighth-graders attended their third schoolwide BRAVE assembly. It was one of several assemblies by the school aimed at promoting positive decision making and recognizing students’ successes.
Principal Michael Portwood said BRAVE stands for “Building Relationships Among Virtually Everyone.” He created the anti-bullying program to promote healthy relationships among students and between teachers and students — believing that can shape who they are and result in a healthy school environment and academic success.
Portwood opened the assembly by sharing a heart-felt story about a childhood friend and the decision that changed his life. “My dad sat me down at dinner one night and told me I would never hang out with my best friend again,” Portwood said.
His friend had become an increasingly bad influence and his father’s decision came on the heels of (Portwood) being driven home in a police car as a middle schooler.
“Though I was devastated at the time it turned out to be one of the wisest decisions for my life,” Portwood said.
Students were silent as Portwood shared the tragic ending to his friend’s story and relayed the first theme of the assembly which was “Choose your friends wisely.”
The assembly also included a discussion on the harmful effects drugs can have on the body and the often unknown effects in using them.
Troy Middle School made news a few weeks ago with the report that oxycontin had been given from one student to another telling them it was aspirin.
While it was confirmed that a controlled substance was being passed around by a few students, school officials later found out that the report of it being purported to be aspirin was false.
“Experimenting with drugs is a wild card. You just don’t know how it’s going to affect your body,” he said. Portwood then related the unfortunate circumstances of a recent Troy graduate who had passed away from his first exposure to experimental drug use.
Portwood said he felt it was necessary to inform students of the dangers of misusing prescription drugs and wanted to reassure students that their school was safe.
The difference between reporting and snitching (or tattling) was also a topic of discussion. “Snitching is when you want to make the problem bigger and get someone in trouble. Reporting is when the problem is too big for you to handle on your own and you need help,” Portwood explained.
The final segment of the assembly incorporated the successes of the students recognized as making good decisions. Each week students are asked to nominate other students for the respectful, responsible, and peaceful contributions they make to the school.
Each student selected as the weekly winner receives a bracelet and T-shirt that states “Proud to be BRAVE @ TMS.” Each student who had received a bracelet or T-shirt thus far was asked to stand during the assembly and be recognized. Students’ comments after the assembly were positive. They noted that it really made them think about what kind of influence their friends are on them and vice versa.