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SCHOOL - "Fighting a secret epidemic in our community"

Updated: Mar 1, 2020

BEAR RIVER MIDDLE SCHOOL – By Cari Doutre – Feb. 7, 2020

Is pornography a problem the youth of today, and in our community, are facing?

“Yes,” said Bear River Middle School Counselor Kelli Rose bluntly.

“Do we survey it? Do we know? Are we talking from experience? Why do we say yes?” Rose continued. “It’s because it’s a hidden problem. It’s a secret and we know it’s a secret.”

Fight the New Drug is a program that brings awareness to communities about the negative are harmful side effects pornography has on individuals. The Fight the New Drug also has plenty of articles available on their website that back up scientific research that pornography can change a person’s physical, emotional and mental health.

Some of challenges for parents and educators locally is to find ways to help youth combat this “secretive” epidemic. The first step is simple, talk about it.

At Bear River Middle School, the counseling department heads up White Ribbon Week (Feb. 3-7), an event that goes hand in hand with the Fight the New Drug program. It’s all an effort to bring awareness to the issue and offer resources for individuals to get help. It first started at BRMS in 2011 by counselor Matt Zollinger and so far, it’s working.

“I do think we see a lot more people asking for help. They are talking about it and if that’s our only hope just to get it so it’s not so secretive and get help,” Rose said. “Our focus is awareness.”

But there’s only so much school counselors can do with this issue.

“We have limits as school counselors for what we can do and how we can help,” she added.

In addition to themed dress up days throughout the week, student leadership groups at Bear River Middle School also got involved in bringing awareness to this issue.

Members of the student council started with a movie and popcorn in the counseling office on Monday. On Tuesday the Latinos in Action group hosted a hoop shoot basketball competition in the gym and on Wednesday the Hope Squad held a horseshoes and bull roping activity for that day’s western wear theme.

Thursday allowed students the chance to dress up for their future careers and Governing Youth Council had a photo booth set up during lunch. Friday’s events include a community wide event in the evening while students that wore white that day to school were given five extra minutes at lunch.

Counselors at Bear River Middle School, as well as teachers and staff, put in a lot of time and effort into making this week possible. That effort is also extended to the community to provide resources and help because it’s not just the younger members of the community struggling with pornography addictions.

“It’s kids but a lot of adults need help too,” Rose said.

This year students, parents and any member of the community are invited to attend a free event that will feature speaker Clay Olsen on Friday, Feb. 7, at 6 p.m. at the Bear River High auditorium. This Fight the New Drug one-hour event is free to attend.

Olsen will discuss the Fortify Program and will show a docuseries on the effect pornography has on a person’s brain and heart and the impact it has on world-wide issues such as sex trafficking.

“Fortify is a free venue for youth and it’s a way to get help if you have a pornography program,” Rose said.

The program offers useful tips and ways to start the process of asking for help.

“It’s activities and things to help if you struggle with pornography addiction and ways that you can fortify yourself against it,” added Aaron Tesch, a counselor at Bear River Middle School.

Friday night’s informative event will also include booths set up in the commons area at Bear River High from 6 to 8 p.m. Several local organizations will be there offering help and resources in a variety of different social issues including suicide awareness and bullying.

Those organizations will include The Hope Squad, Bear River Health Department, Brigham Suicide Prevention, LDS Family Services, United Way, Bear River Mental Health Services, Northern Box Elder County Suicide Prevention Coalition, Fight the New Drug, North Point Counseling Services and Enough is Enough (anti-bullying group).

Another advantage to Friday night’s event will include the Bear River High’s boys’ basketball team hosting Mountain Crest in a Region 11 game. The varsity game starts at 7 p.m. in the Bear River High gym.

To show support for the fight against pornography, the school is encouraging fans to wear white to “white out pornography.”

“Now that we have it on a ball game night, we have the traffic,” said Rose. “We’re there and a lot more people are being exposed to the information.”


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