Students Nabbed for Pulling Fire Alarms

By Loren Friedman

On Tuesday, Jan. 16, the HHS fire alarm rang approximately five times. Four out of the five alarms were false and pulled by students in the main building, according to administrators.

Two students were subsequently arrested, according to school officials.

According to Ms. Lozano, vice principal for juniors, pulling fire alarms endanger both students and citizens throughout the city.

“All the resources in town are being used for these false alarms and it’s risking other people’s well being and needs,” she said.

The students involved in the incident were allegedly caught on security cameras.

Their actions will not be taken lightly, as it is now a criminal matter, Ms. Lozano told reporters..

As for the punishment of those suspected students, Ms. Lozano said they will be “disciplined to the full extent.”

They now also have to attend a fire safety course, to bring awareness of the danger of their actions, she said.


Opinions: Reactions to the Fire Alarm Pulls

On Jan. 16, HHS experienced four pulled fire alarms. We asked some students to express their reactions.

Here they are:

Amaya Tiozon

What was thought to be an average Tuesday on Jan.16 became a nightmare for students. On this Tuesday, the fire alarm was pulled four times, one after another.

Each time the alarm was pulled, all you could hear was the mix of stinging frustration of all the students who did not want to suffer in the freezing winter temperatures and the joy of those who did not want to be in school.

It became a routine to walk in the school and come back out repeatedly, each time my hands and face were getting more and more red.

I witnessed firemen clearly irritated, discussing with school administrators how to stop the nonsense.

These pulled fire drills were ridiculous and so inconsiderate. Each time the firemen and police came to investigate, I felt bad because some students were causing this annoyance to the emergency works and the administration.

Sekhena Sembenu

On Tuesday afternoon , two 15 year old Hackensack students were caught pulling school fire alarms.  

It was a regular day, no one expecting anything. In the morning around 9 am, HHS had a planned fire drill. Everyone evacuated and followed the procedure. After, everyone returned to homeroom and continued the day.

Then came the five minute time period to get to 7th period, and the first false fire alarm occurred.

Two  fire drills in one day? This couldn’t be possible.

HHS took it as a real fire drill and followed procedures again.

Within about a minute of  arriving back to the school, the third false fire alarm was pulled. At this point,  everyone was frustrated. It was cold and barely anyone had their jacket. Again, students followed procedure.

After arriving back to the school, 7th period was extended 20 minutes.

During the five minutes used to travel from 7th period to 8th period, the fourth false fire alarm was pulled. Now, everyone just wanted to go home. People were so fed up.

As we got back to class, once again,  the fifth false fire alarm was pulled.

With the amount of times the fire department had come, it was embarrassing. We felt bad for them, because these were false alarms whereas there could have actually been a real fire somewhere else.

Students may not realize that after each false alarm the school is fined for false alarms. Two HHS students were arrested and taken into custody.

At the end of the day, this should be a lesson to everyone that pulling a fire alarm is not funny at all. There can be serious consequences. All in all, think about your actions before you follow through with them.

Xavier Cherry

The fire drills yesterday weren’t that bad, in my opinion. I understand that for some people the drills were getting annoying, and that many people were frustrated with constantly having to leave. I, personally, didn’t have a problem with the drills. I was actually happy that I was missing class, and since they were mostly in between periods, I took the extra time to go chill with my friends. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really mind fire drills.

Carol Cobos

On January 16, HHS students, pulled the fire alarm four times throughout the day, making students leave the building and wait for the firefighters to investigate.

At first, the alarms were funny and a way to get out of class. When the other alarms went off people considered going home because it was getting old. It was really a stupid thing for the students to  do. The hallways were chaotic and loud, it was a big mess. It was also chilly outside and a lot of us were really mad because we didn’t have our coats.


People are Talking!



Hackensack High School’s Comet News is premiering a new feature that celebrates our whole community. Come see what is being said now that People Are Talking….

Kayla Aquino, sophomore, says her English teacher, Ms. Dowling, is “the nicest teacher in the entire school.”

-Madison Rahn

Jayla Gabriel seems very interested in chemistry and I appreciate her enthusiasm toward the subject,” says chemistry teacher, Mr. Maselli.

-Madison Rahn

Darren Wilkins, freshman in the school play, Cabaret, says Chorus and Musical Theater teacher who is the musical director of the play, Ms Platte, is “helpful and supportive.”

-Dylan Nicholson

Avery Fearon, freshman, says band teacher Mrs. MacVicar is “a really good band teacher and is always such a big help to the class when there is a problem.”

-Briana Williams

“Mical Davila (senior) is a very dedicated and talented young woman,” says band teacher Mrs. MacVicar.

-Briana Williams

Mr. Davis, marketing teacher, says Dr. Galiana “is very consistent and has very good leadership skills and organizational skills.”

-Ashley Sloan

Dr. Galiana works hard to make sure students are given fair treatment regardless of academic level,” says senior Mackenzie Carroll.

-Ashley Sloan

Anthony Sanchez is a hard working student he comes into class ready to learn and eager to help his fellow classmates,” says chemistry teacher, Ms. Shaw.

-Angelica Contreras

Amari Banks, sophomore, says her English teacher, Mrs. Washburn, is “very chill and laid back.”

-Angelica Contreras

Alexus Smith, freshman, says her assistant principal, Ms. Adams, “is very helpful and will try to get you on the right track in a positive way. She is also very funny and she will try to make you happy.”

-Sekhena Sembenu

Ms. Adams, freshman assistant principal, says her freshman class “has matured since middle school and it’s nice to see their growth with academic focus.”

-Sekhena Sembenu

Nasimeh Salem (senior) says one of the Model UN leader, Ms. Durso, “runs the club amazingly, is very organized, and lets the students be in control of monitoring the club, which makes the experience more real and exciting for me.”  

-Angelina Rosado

Ms. Curreri, Model UN leader, says Paul Del Vechio, (senior) “did a great job at our Fair Lawn conference, since it was very different from any other Model UN meeting, which I thought he handled it very well.”

-Angelina Rosado

Rafeeat Bishi, sophomore, says that her History teacher Mrs. Harrington is a “good teacher who knows how to push her students.”

-Samiha Miah

Mrs. Harrington, US History teacher, says about sophomores: Daniel Chi, Peter Boodhan, and Harvey Fortus, “I have a group of fine young men who are very focused and hardworking. They have very distinct personalities. [They are a] little competitive with each other in a good-hearted way. [They] often ask good questions and add humor to the class.”

-Samiha Miah

Cosette Liosi, sophomore, talks about the Drop In Center and says, “People in Drop In are very helpful and really respect the confidentiality agreement. It’s reassuring to go there and know that no one will know about what you say there.”

-Carol Cobos

Audrey Irby, secretary of the Drop In, talks about Marcelo Morales and says, “he is learning to do things out of his comfort zone by being a morning helper at the drop in center by going to different offices. He is a very kind, courteous and polite person.”

-Carol Cobos

Arianna Fallucca, senior, says “English class this year is lit” in regards to her English teacher Ms. Shaw.

-Erick Espinoza

Mrs. Colacino, Spanish teacher, says, “Period nine class is my favorite class to end off the day,” due to their being so quiet and efficient during the class.

-Erick Espinoza

Ms. Arvizu, gym teacher, says, “Amaya Tiozon is a wonderfully cooperative, nice, and responsible student.”

-Amaya Tiozon

Jonathan Ramos, sophomore, claims, “Mrs. Alvarez is chill with her students” regarding his favorite gym teacher.  

-Amaya Tiozon

Upasna Singh, freshman, talks about her gym teacher Mr. Houser and says, “My gym teacher doesn’t yell at students when they do not participate; instead he encourages them to play the sport.”

-Kelly Toalongo

Jessica Pida, sophomore, is a hard working student and she comes after school for more help on her writing, which helps her improve her writing and to achieve her goal,” says Pre AP English II teacher  Mrs. PapaMichael.

-Wendy Guaman

Ms. Tatgenhorst, Web Design teacher, says, “Ashley Sloan, in 12th grade, is a conscientious and diligent student who will definitely succeed in life.”

-Loren Friedman

Ryan Galbreath, senior, says, “The class that Ms. Tatgenhorst is teaching Web Design and really helped me out for my future.”

-Loren Friedman

Necole Torrejon, junior, says, “She is both nice and understanding as well as enthusiastic when teaching our class and enjoys when her students succeed even when we’re not doing our best,” about her AP World teacher, Ms. Durso.

-Kimberly Meneses

Karla Vazquez, sophomore, says her Honors Spanish 3 teacher, Snr. Colacino, “Breaks down difficult concepts into simpler ones making it easier for the students to understand it. She is always willing to help her students whether it’s after school or during class. Additionally, both her in class activities and lesson plans are insanely helpful and fun. She’s a very compassionate person and teacher that is willing to challenge her students in order to prosper academically. I am lucky to have had her both this year and last year, hopefully next year as well.”

-Kimberly Meneses

Ms. Lozano, Assistant Principal to the Eleventh Grade, says, “He has had a positive impact on the Culture and Climate committee. Additionally, he holds students accountable while also fostering positive relationships with them and supports them both academically and socially. He has definitely been a great addition to our Comet community,” about the school’s new faculty member, Dean Hodge.

-Kimberly Meneses

Maria Diaz, senior, displays drive and perseverance that is not uncommon in students her age. She has overcome many obstacles in her life while maintaining her status as an honor student and is the glue that holds her family together . She will be successful in anything she does and is a role model in our school community,” says Ms. Lozano.

-Kimberly Meneses

Mrs. S. McFadden, Main Office Staff, says “She always goes the extra mile to help someone.” about Mrs. Lozano, Assistant Principal.

-Eleni Tsirikos

Theodore Leakas, senior, says, “I do not know Mr. Hodge that well but he seems really nice and cool.”

-Eleni Tsirikos

Dennis Ballew, senior, says computer graphics and photography teacher, Mrs. Andrews, is “one of the nicest teachers and is always looking out for other people.”

-Jonathan Becker

Mrs. Andrews, computer graphics and photography teacher, described student Arianna Young, as “unbelievably talented, focused, and hardworking.”

-Jonathan Becker

Mrs. Betances, Algebra I teacher, says “Mr. Montesano gives us [the staff] trust and confidence that we are doing our job properly. He holds us to a high standard and expects us to do a good job.”

-Alanis Martinez

“Coming from other schools I feel as if he [Principal Montesano] runs this school better than most that I’ve been to. I really feel at home here,” says senior, Kevon Huntley

-Alanis Martinez

David Gonzalaz, senior, says chemistry teacher, Mr. Pulumbo “He’s good for a laugh” while senior Arianna Falluca says “He can always make me smile”

-Josue Cortorreal



Congress Members Come to HHS to Introduce Lead Free Schools Act

By Breeya Gandy 

U.S. Senator Cory Booker, U.S. Representative Josh Gottheimer, and other officials came to HHS on June 5th to propose a bill he called the  “Get Lead Out of Our Schools” act.

Booker emulated dedication to children and their safety nationwide. “This should be done together,” Booker stated, urging Congress to finance removing lead from our schools’ water supply.

“Access to clean healthy water is a fundamental right,” Booker said, admitting also to being disheartened that a blind eye has been turned to this situation.

He said that it was made very clear to him that there is work to be done and loopholes to be closed to ensure healthy fresh water in all school systems.

Booker chose HHS for his announcement because our school was proactive in checking for potential lead in our water and switching out a few water fountains to ensure our students are safe.



Opinion: Water Contamination Warrants Our Attention

By Aisha Khalid 

On Monday June 5th, Senator Cory Booker, with U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, and other officials, has announced he will introduce a bill to improve efforts to take the lead out of water, providing cleaner and purer water fountains in all New Jersey schools.

Mr. Booker’s decision to do this is fantastic because it shows that he cares about the health of children. It was imperative that steps should be taken because the water fountains at many schools in New Jersey are contaminated with lead.

Due to the presence of lead in water, many children have to face health related issues and diseases. Lead poisoning is a serious ailment because it can cause developmental delay, learning difficulties, irritability, loss of appetite, weight loss, sluggishness and fatigue, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, hearing loss, and seizures. Lead pipes, brass plumbing fixtures, and copper pipes soldered with lead can release lead particles into tap water which can cause these many problems. Due to these reasons, it is great that Mr. Booker is taking measures to stop this and spark change.

Since HHS already changed all of its water fountains, Mr. Booker used our school as an example of progress and change in offering students with a healthier and cleaner water supply. At our school, the benefits of the new water fountains are many. The new fountains have an aesthetically appealing design and provide strong encouragement for students to drink water regularly at the school. The result is that the students will stay hydrated and hopefully develop a lifelong habit of drinking water and less sweetened beverages.

It would be great if the government can provide cleaner drinking water to its students. Providing water stations that dispense cold, fresh, and filtered water that can quickly fill a cup or a reusable of safe drinking water bottle would be significant progress.  Such an effort would enhance and improve schools, keep students safer, and should be seen by all as a worthwhile investment.



Sen. Booker with HHS staff and Journalism students at HHS bill introduction event.

Booker Visits HHS, Fights for Clean Water

By Hope Ortiz


U.S Congressman Cory Booker visited Hackensack High School to announce new legislation ensuring safe drinking water in schools. Front row, left to right: Hackensack Principal Montesano, students Breeya Gandy, Kimberly Pena, Hope Ortiz, Lindy Duncan, Aisha Khalid, and Assistant Principal Lozano. Back, left to right: student Joshua Phillips and Booker. 

What Triggers Relationship Abuse?

By Samantha Alicea and Yasmine Manansala


Abuse is a choice and a learned behavior. Common attitudes of an abuser include sense of entitlement, power and control, belief of getting away with it, and learned experience that abuse gets them what they want. HHS social worker Mrs. J. Millard explained these facts during a recent press conference, adding that “about 1.5 million students experience physical abuse every year.”

An abuser is usually filled with insecurity and mistrust, she said. Abuse can happen at home or in a public area. Either way, it never makes a situation better.

Here are the warning signs, according to Mrs. J. Millard:

Sense of entitlement. The feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges). A sense of entitlement complex is linked with narcissism and borderline personality disorder. An abuser holds this feeling/belief that he/she deserves privileges due to his/her personality.

Power and control. Power and control in abusive relationships (or coercive control or controlling behavior) is the way that abusers exert physical, sexual, and other forms of abuse to gain and maintain control over a victim. This is where the victim is being taken advantage of because the abuser is bigger and stronger. As a result, the abuser is able to restrain someone who is smaller and weaker.

“In abusive behavior, one partner exerts and maintains power and control,” said by Ms. S. Millard, community educator from Bergen County Alternatives to Domestic Violence.

Belief in getting away with it. Abusers refuse to believe that what they do is wrong. They continue to physically and emotionally hurt their partner because the victims let them. Abuse in a relationship will continue if the partner being abused does not say something. But remember, help is all around and should be used in order to get out of domestic violence.

Learned experience that abuse gets them what they want. Usually, abuse in a relationship happens more than once. From a previous experience, abusers will learn that their power and control towards their partner can get them to listen to them. After abusing their partner, they see that their power allows them to obey them. This continues if the partner being abused does not say something. Help is all around and should be used in order to get out of domestic violence.

As cliche as it sounds, recognizing you have a problem is the first step to recovery.

While people do have the potential to change, they need the drive to do so. It’s easy for a person to say he or she will change but the key is to commit to all aspects of change which is a lot easier said than done.

Improving yourself shows strength and drive. Recognizing flaws and working towards improving yourself is one of the most admirable things a person can do.

If you think you may be the abuser in your relationship, here are some steps to consider taking:

  • Admitting to what you have done
  • Accepting responsibility for abusive actions/behavior.
  • Making amends
  • Recognizing that abuse is a choice
  • Identifying patterns of controlling behavior
  • Identifying the attitudes that drive abuse
  • Accepting that overcoming abusiveness is a long term choice
  • Not demanding credit for improvements/not being abusive
  • Do not allow improvements to excuse occasional acts of abuse
  • Developing supportive behaviors
  • Changing responses to  anger and grievances
  • Changing reactions in heated conflict
  • Not feeling sorry for yourself about the consequences of abuse or victim blaming

Seeking out support resources can also be a major help in the process of improving yourself and forming healthy relationships. Luckily, there are plenty of wonderful resources in Hackensack such as Alternatives to Domestic Violence, a  24-hour hotline (201-336-7575) where you can discuss any issues, be educated, and get counseling by professionals. Healing Space of YWCA is another 24-hour hotline (201-487-2227) located in Hackensack that provides crisis intervention and individual counseling.

What to do When Your Friend is in an Abusive Relationship

By Jessica Williams,  Alanis Martinez, Natasha Wilson, and Tiffany Jones


Many have heard the story of abuse from a victim’s viewpoint. Oftentimes, the person may already suffer physical, mental, or emotional damage after realizing they were a victim of abuse. Relationships outside of the toxic one, such as friendships, can help the abused leave the abuser sooner, as a friend is more likely to notice signs of abuse quicker than the victim.

The most important aspect in figuring out whether or not a friend is in an abusive relationship is to not jump to conclusions.

According to Dr. Dimitry, a clinical psychologist for HHS, “You can’t call a relationship toxic if you base it on one verbalization. It’s a matter of recognizing a small sample vs. something that happens often.”

For example, if a couple or group of friends have one argument, it would not be considered abusive because it was only one incident. However, if they argue, hit, or belittle one another on a regular basis, it is considered abuse.

Abusive traits may not always be obvious, such as arguing or hitting.  Some of the less noticeable abusive traits may be isolation, a change in clothes, especially if it is inappropriate for the weather, or the constant monitoring of the victim by the abuser.

These actions are a result of the abuser’s need for control in the relationship for his or her own personal purposes.

Ms. Shepherd, a licensed clinical social worker, states that the abuser  “exhibits the personality of a bully. They feel that they have no power, so they assume power over someone who is vulnerable.”

If someone does not have control over what they can and cannot do, then that individual may be in an abusive relationship.

After noticing these signs, wanting to help the friend get out of the relationship may be priority. However, intervening with an abusive relationship can be precarious. Mr. Sanchez, a licensed clinical social worker at HHS, says that you should “find out what the person needs based on their personality to help them. Find out how they feel, what they feel they need.”

The friend may or may not react in a negative way, so you must tread lightly when talking about the subject. It is also good to talk to an authoritative figure such as a guidance counselor, a teacher, or a parent or guardian.

When viewed from the outside, abusive relationships may appear to have an obvious solution. The most commonly asked question to victims is “Why don’t you just leave?” However,  this question is not easily answered.

When a former abuse victim was interviewed by a comet journalist, she stated, “It’s not as simple as everyone believes it to be. You don’t realize this is happening. You don’t get the cycle is unhealthy or that this isn’t normal.”  she said “When you realize it, you don’t just get up and leave, You can’t. There’s too much invested, too much time, energy and just everything.” She said, “When the cycle starts, it’s hard to stop it. It almost becomes addicting with the highs and the lows. The highs are so wonderful that you just believe if you can get through the lows you’ll make it to that high. And you’ll be happy.”

Comet journalists asked Dr. Dimitry for a reaction to the victim’s interview. He said, “Two things: in the beginning of the situation, you won’t recognize the abuse. When you do realize it, good things in the relationship makes it complicated. Making the decision, ‘Is tolerating the bad stuff enough for the good stuff?’ It’s a very difficult decision to make. She might benefit from getting counseling so she can look at things objectively.”

If your friend reacts in a negative way, you can continuously warn them about the signs and constantly let them know that they are in an abusive relationship. In order to save the friendship or at least keep it together you need to let your friend know you’re telling them these things because you care about them and that you only want what’s best for them. Seeking help for your friend depends because they are the ones who are in control of themselves and their actions in order to leaved the relationship. You should call attention to it when it gets really out of hand and when the signs are very clear such as your friend being physically abused.

Some hotlines for abuse and counseling are as follows:

    • 1 (800) 572-SAFE (7233) -> New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline
    • 1 (800) 601-7200 -> New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA)
    • 1 (800) 322-8092 -> Women’s Referral Central Hotline

There are also other centers such as Drop In at HHS in room 119 and the Bergen County Alternatives to Domestic Violence Center in Hackensack.

Getting Help for Abusive Relationships

By Treasure Clarke, Michelle Coneo, and Jessica Ibrahimian


Imagine you are sitting in a class filled with 30 people, did you know that it is highly likely that 10 out of those 30 are or have been in a poisonous relationship? As reported by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), relationship abuse is an issue that can affect anyone in our community, including men. However, it’s never too late to end the abuse and get out of these type of relationships.

According to an article, ¨Domestic Violence and Abuse¨ written by Melinda Smith, M. A, and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. and published on, Different types of abuse in a relationship can be emotional, physical, sexual, verbal, or even financial. These can include threats, isolation, and intimidation. This kind of violence can escalate over time.

The HHS journalism class covered a series of press conferences with school special services professionals whose expertise includes relationship abuse. These professionals are well-prepared, willing to help every member of our community to move on from toxic relationships, and to guide them through the path of overcoming a destructive bond with the aggressor.

There is a percentage of students at HHS who have reported being in an abusive relationship, according to Ms. Koonin, who is our Student Assistance Counselor in Room 293. She said that, “It’s good to show that you are advocating for yourself.” However, she also noted that many other cases exist but have been kept hidden because of fear and some other reasons.

Our backgrounds and the people we are surrounded by while we’re growing up may contribute to the way we treat others. According to Ms. Shepherd, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at HHS she said, “A person who grew up in abusive background, they think abuse is normal in a relationship.”

When growing up in a community where coercive relationships are the norm, it may be hard to recognize the negative impact a person is having on you. Don’t diminish emotional abuse, it is as equal to the physical one, Ms. Shepherd said.

Ms. Koonin also said,  “When you are a baby and have a relationship with your guardian that isn’t emotional it may affect you into becoming an abuser.”

Ms. Ruff, a social worker at HHS, clarified that an offender may seem innocent from the outside but has unpleasant actions with their partner, she said it’s important to get help as soon as possible since the victimizer will make you feel guilty every step of the way.

Remember that here at HHS we have resources to help you if you or your friend are in need of help they are:

  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker: Mr. Sanchez
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker: Mrs. Millard
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker: Ms. Shepherd
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker: Miss Ruff
  • Dr. Dimitry, PHD: Clinical Psychologist
  • School Psychologist: Ms. Trocolar
  • Ms. Koonin: Student Assistance Counselor – Room 293
  • Ms. S. Millard: Community Educator Bergen County Alternatives to Domestic Violence
  • Drop In Center, Guidance, Administration, and HHS teachers are always available to talk to.

There are steps you may follow if you identify yourself as a victim of an abusive relationship. Here they are:  

  • Seek comfort in a person you trust and tell them about it.
  • If you know of a friend or someone who is being a victim of abusive relationships you need to listen to the victim and get help from a responsible adult or a professional.
  • Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224
  • Juvenile Crisis Hotline – For parents and kids (1-855-427-2736)
  • ADV – Alternatives to Domestic Violence | 24-hr hotline: 201-336-7575.

Toxic Friendships May Sneak Up on Us

By Hope Ortiz, Aisha Khalid, Thalia Andrade, and Amia Weldon

When a frog is placed into a cool pot of water, it seems pleasant to the creature. If that water is then slowly heated up, the frog does not perceive the danger that lies ahead.

Toxic friendships are similar since the person involved may not notice the danger, like the warming water around the frog.

Florence Isaacs, the author of Toxic Friends/True Friends, explains that a toxic friendship is unsupportive, draining, unrewarding, stifling, unsatisfying, and often unequal.

According to Ms. Shepherd, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at HHS, toxic friendships are usually established by those who have the bullying type of personality. She states that these type of people make their friends feel weaker than them in order to feel better about themselves.

The base component of a toxic friendship is insecurity on the part of the perpetrator. The people who cause toxicity are known to be needy, narcissistic, and feel deserving of admiration.

Ms. Shepherd mentioned that “since they’re feeling insecure, they need to exert influence in order to feel powerful, much like a bully.”

WebMD gives key characteristics of toxic friendships to look out for. One of these characteristics includes the issue of taking but not giving and returning a favor.

Another characteristic of toxicity is that he or she is not a supportive friend and constantly put others down, where it becomes a daily routine, according to the website. At this point, the friendship has stopped being one that will enhance emotional health.

The last key characteristic, according to reports on the website, is that this specific friend brings out the worst in an individual. Friends are supposed to guide and help others make good choices. A toxic friendship, on the other hand, could lead one onto the wrong path.

Ms. Shepherd said, “The idea is to break out of the isolated relationship; whoever you talk to should be someone that you have a good relationship with.”

Essentially, everyone deserves to have a good and happy friendship.

If you find that you are involved in a toxic one, there are multiple ways you can get help or support:

-You can take back control in toxic friendships and how they make you feel by setting boundaries. By setting boundaries, you are being assertive and are prioritizing your needs.

-If that’s becoming too hard to cope with, the best thing to do is to end the friendship because it’s better to eliminate something before it starts causing more harm than it already has.

-By ending the relationship, you are alleviating and freeing yourself from the stress of toxicity.

-Lastly, you can make yourself open to talking to other people such as the social workers, guidance counselors, teachers, and the Drop-in Center here at HHS.

The frog story is a common analogy to explain any kind of abusive friendship/relationship as the frog is said to die in the end. In reality, the frog jumps out once the water gets too hot. Likewise, once you notice the signs of toxicity, you can get out of the friendship in time.



Ms. Shepherd discusses relationship abuse with HHS Journalism class.