Panhandle Equality is spearheading an effort prevent youth suicides, combat bullying, and improve the quality of life and mental health of youth in our Panhandle communities.
A community meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 27 at the Guadalupe Center in Scottsbluff at 6 p.m.; students, parents, teachers, social services personnel and supportive members of the public are encouraged to attend and participate.
Panhandle Equality Chair Jeff Leanna says youth suicide is the second leading cause of death in youth ages 12 to 18. One in four youth – or approximately 2,800 children in the Panhandle – will be bullied each day of the week.
“For many young people in our communities, the thought of going to school is not about personal growth and learning, but instead is wrought with fear and suffering,” says Leanna. “Our young people face bullying, and sometimes violence, in the classroom, in the locker room, at school activities and then it follows them home and continues online and while they are trying to live their lives in our communities. We must stop being complacent and turning a blind eye to the problem. We must stop saying it’s on our child who is being bullied. It’s not our child who is the bully.”
“Panhandle Equality is partnering with national, state and local organizations to develop antibullying programs,” said Ladessa Heimbouch, Panhandle Equality Vice Chair. “We will also be working with our partner organizations and state and national experts to create training and educational programming tailored to our local communities for teachers, school administrators, healthcare providers, social services providers and community members.”
Panhandle Equality is a regional organization committed to full equality for residents of the Nebraska Panhandle region by advancing LGBTQ+ rights through advocacy, education and community service.