New class hopes to provide resources, support for students


According to their website, The Hope Squad program is a school-based peer support team that partners with local mental health agencies. Peers select students who are trustworthy and caring individuals to join the Hope Squad.

Fairmont Principal Tyler Alexander has been working on implementing this over the last year.

“Hope Squad is a group of students that receive training on recognizing signs of suicide and are trained on what resources are available for students who they feel need support. It is a group of student nominated by their peers,” Alexander said.

Squad members are trained to watch for at-risk students, provide friendship, identify suicide-warning signs and seek help from adults.

“We feel this program will create another resource for our students who are in need of someone to talk to. There is no better way than to have students who were nominated by their peers to lead a group that provides supports and resources for students,” Alexander said.

Hope Squad members are not taught to act as counselors, but are educated on recognizing suicide warning signs and how to properly and respectfully report concerns to an adult according to their official site.

“Students were nominated in advisory back in early March,” Alexander said.

While Alexander and his staff are still working on the details and plans for this new program, Hope Squad will be offered as an actual class starting next school year. The exact details and schedule are still in the works.

As the statistics continue to climb and with Fairmont’s recent experience with a student suicide, a program like this can offer hope and change for many young teens and families. 

“If the creation of this program helps one student or saves one life, then it is worth the time and effort.  In some cases we may not know this, but ultimately I feel that anytime we can have student leaders take the reign on an important topic, then we should do it,” Alexander said.