As any student will tell you, high school can be hard, and made harder still when bullying becomes an issue.
In these days of cell phones, Facebook pages and laptop computers, bullying can transcend name-calling and after-school fights that most parents remember. Joliet Township High School District 204 has made a concerted effort to counter student-on-student attacks by teaching seven character attributes: respect, integrity, confidence, responsibility, compassion, perseverance and tolerance.
"This program is unique to Joliet Township High School," said Kristine Schlismann, JTHS community development director. "It's really what our group of stakeholders determined to be our core values."
Joliet West High School and Joliet Central High School have implemented Character in Community, a program in which community members, businesses, alumni and others are asked to purchase specially made T-shirts, scarves, ties and other items to promote the school's values.
Joliet Patch is helping, too.
We have joined with JTHS to invite community members to share their stories with students. Every week, Patch will post a video of a community member, student, staff or alumni discussing one of the character attributes or encouraging kids to stay the course in high school.
In other words, as hard as high school might be -- with or without bullying -- students need to know that these are temporary problems and life does get better. Something may seem like a disaster today, but with time students will see it was just a momentary bump in the road.
"We see so many compassionate acts from our students," Schlismann said. "We see so much compassion coming from the walls of our school."
Already the school has sold more than 2,000 T-shirts.
"We have parents come in who are buying the T-shirts and they're buying respect, because they are working on respect."
Anyone who is interested in telling their story or encouraging students should contact Local Editor Dawn Aulet to set up a time for an interview.
You can purchase a character attribute T-shirt by clicking here.