Friday, October 31, 2014

Teen Suicide Is Not Necessary

Teen Suicide - NAMI National Alliance on Mental Illness

Most everyone at some time in his or her life will experience periods of anxiety, sadness, and despair. These are normal reactions to the pain of loss, rejection, or disappointment. Those with serious mental illnesses, however, often experience much more extreme reactions, reactions that can leave them mired in hopelessness. And when all hope is lost, some feel that suicide is the only solution. It isn’t.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, scientific evidence has shown that almost all people who take their own lives have a diagnosable mental or substance abuse disorder, and the majority have more than one disorder. In other words, the feelings that often lead to suicide are highly treatable. That’s why it is imperative that we better understand the symptoms of the disorders and the behaviors that often accompany thoughts of suicide. With more knowledge, we can often prevent the devastation of losing a loved one.

Now the eighth-leading cause of death overall in the U.S. and the third-leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 24 years, suicide has become the subject of much recent focus. U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, for instance, recently announced his Call to Action to Prevent Suicide, 1999, an initiative intended to increase public awareness, promote intervention strategies, and enhance research. The media, too, has been paying very close attention to the subject of suicide, writing articles and books and running news stories. Suicide among our nation’s youth, a population very vulnerable to self-destructive emotions, has perhaps received the most discussion of late. Maybe this is because teenage suicide seems the most tragic—lives lost before they’ve even started. Yet, while all of this recent focus is good, it’s only the beginning. We cannot continue to lose so many lives unnecessarily.

Some Basic Facts
  • In 1996, more teenagers and young adults died of suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia and influenza, and chronic lung disease combined.

  • In 1996, suicide was the second-leading cause of death among college students, the third-leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 24 years, and the fourth- leading cause of death among those aged 10 to 14 years.

  • From 1980 to 1996, the rate of suicide among African-American males aged 15 to 19 years increased by 105 percent.

It is a hopeful sign that while the incidence of suicide among adolescents and young adults nearly tripled from 1965 to 1987, teen suicide rates in the past ten years have actually been declining, possibly due to increased recognition and treatment. (1996 is the most recent year for which suicide statistics are available.)

Suicide "Signs"

There are many behavioral indicators that can help parents or friends recognize the threat of suicide in a loved one. Since mental and substance-related disorders so frequently accompany suicidal behavior, many of the cues to be looked for are symptoms associated with such disorders as depression, bipolar disorder (manic depression), anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use, disruptive behavior disorders, borderline personality disorder, and schizophrenia.

Some common symptoms of these disorders include:
  • Extreme personality changes
  • Loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Significant loss or gain in appetite
  • Difficulty falling asleep or wanting to sleep all day
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Neglect of personal appearance or hygiene
  • Sadness, irritability, or indifference
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Extreme anxiety or panic
  • Drug or alcohol use or abuse
  • Aggressive, destructive, or defiant behavior
  • Poor school performance
  • Hallucinations or unusual beliefs

Tragically, many of these signs go unrecognized. And while suffering from one of these symptoms certainly does not necessarily mean that one is suicidal, it’s always best to communicate openly with a loved one who has one or more of these behaviors, especially if they are unusual for that person.

There are also some more obvious signs of the potential for committing suicide. Putting one’s affairs in order, such as giving or throwing away favorite belongings, is a strong clue. And it can’t be stressed more strongly that any talk of death or suicide should be taken seriously and paid close attention to. It is a sad fact that while many of those who commit suicide talked about it beforehand, only 33 percent to 50 percent were identified by their doctors as having a mental illness at the time of their death and only 15 percent of suicide victims were in treatment at the time of their death. Any history of previous suicide attempts is also reason for concern and watchfulness. Approximately one-third of teens who die by suicide have made a previous suicide attempt. It should be noted as well that while more females attempt suicide, more males are successful in completing suicide.


While the reasons that teens commit suicide vary widely, there are some common situations and circumstances that seem to lead to such extreme measures. These include major disappointment, rejection, failure, or loss such as breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend, failing a big exam, or witnessing family turmoil. Since the overwhelming majority of those who commit suicide have a mental or substance-related disorder, they often have difficulty coping with such crippling stressors. They are unable to see that their life can turn around, unable to recognize that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Usually, the common reasons for suicide listed above are actually not the "causes" of the suicide, but rather triggers for suicide in a person suffering from a mental illness or substance-related disorder.

More recently, scientists have focused on the biology of suicide. Suicide is thought by some to have a genetic component, to run in families. And research has shown strong evidence that mental and substance-related disorders, which commonly affect those who end up committing suicide, do run in families. While the suicide of a relative is obviously not a direct "cause" of suicide, it does, perhaps, put certain individuals at more risk than others. Certainly, the suicide of one’s parent or other close family member could lead to thoughts of such behavior in a teen with a mental or substance-related disorder.

Research has also explored the specific brain chemistry of those who take their own lives. Recent studies indicate that those who have attempted suicide may also have low levels of the brain chemical serotonin. Serotonin helps control impulsivity, and low levels of the brain chemical are thought to cause more impulsive behavior. Suicides are often committed out of impulse. Antidepressant drugs affecting serotonin are used to treat depression, impulsivity, and suicidal thoughts. However, much more research is needed to confirm these hypotheses and, hopefully, eventually lead to more definite indicators of and treatment for those prone to suicide.

How to Help

Since people who are contemplating suicide feel so alone and helpless, the most important thing to do if you think a friend or loved one is suicidal is to communicate with him or her openly and frequently. Make it clear that you care; stress your willingness to listen. Also, be sure to take all talk of suicide seriously. Don’t assume that people who talk about killing themselves won’t really do it. An estimated 80 percent of all those who commit suicide give some warning of their intentions or mention their feelings to a friend or family member. And don’t ignore what may seem like casual threats or remarks. Statements like "You’ll be sorry when I’m dead" and "I can’t see any way out," no matter how off-the-cuff or jokingly said, may indicate serious suicidal feelings.

One of the most common misconceptions about talking with someone who might be contemplating suicide is that bringing up the subject may make things worse. This is not true. There is no danger of "giving someone the idea." Rather, the opposite is correct. Bringing up the question of suicide and discussing it without showing shock or disapproval is one of the most helpful things you can do. This openness shows that you are taking the individual seriously and responding to the severity of his or her distress.

If you do find that your friend or loved one is contemplating suicide, it is essential to help him or her find immediate professional care. (Calling the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI [6264] for more information or to help you locate your local NAMI for area assistance is one possible resource.) Don’t make the common misjudgment that those contemplating suicide are unwilling to seek help. Studies of suicide victims show that more than half had sought medical help within six months before their deaths. And don’t leave the suicidal person to find help alone—they usually aren’t capable. Also, never assume that someone who is determined to end his or her life can’t be stopped. Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, though, no matter how overpowering, does not last forever.

If the threat is immediate, if your friend or loved one tells you he or she is going to commit suicide, you must act immediately. Don’t leave the person alone, and don’t try to argue. Instead, ask questions like, "Have you thought about how you’d do it?" "Do you have the means?" and "Have you decided when you’ll do it?" If the person has a defined plan, the means are easily available, the method is a lethal one, and the time is set, the risk of suicide is obviously severe. In such an instance, you must take the individual to the nearest psychiatric facility or hospital emergency room. If you are together on the phone, you may even need to call 911 or the police. Remember, under such circumstances no actions on your part should be considered too extreme—you are trying to save a life. An overwhelming majority of young people who hear a suicide threat from a friend or loved one don’t report the threat to an adult. Take all threats seriously—you are not betraying someone’s trust by trying to keep them alive.

Other Serious Considerations

Don’t automatically assume that someone who was considering suicide and is now in treatment or tells you that he or she is feeling better is, in fact, doing better. Some who commit suicide actually do so just as they seem to be improving. One reason for this may be that they did not have enough energy to kill themselves when they were extremely depressed, but now have just enough energy to go through with their plan. Another reason for suicide during a seeming improvement is that resigning oneself to death can release anxiety. While it’s not good to monitor every action of someone who is recovering from suicidal thoughts, it is important to make certain that the lines of communication between you and the individual remain open.

While it may seem a bit obvious, it should also be mentioned that it is extremely advisable to bar teens who are suicidal from access to firearms. Nearly 60 percent of all completed suicides are committed with a firearm. And while having a firearm does not in itself promote suicidal behavior, knowing that one is accessible may help a troubled teen formulate his or her suicidal plans.

Recommended Resources

Support Groups and Organizations:

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
3615 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20016-3007
Phone: 202/966-7300
Fax: 202/966-2891
Web site:

American Association of Suicidolgy4201 Connecticut Ave., NW
Suite 408
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 202/237-2280
Fax: 202/237-2282
Web site:

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
120 Wall St., 22nd Floor
New York, NY 10005
Phone: 888/333-AFSP (2377) (toll-free)
Fax: 212/363-6237
Web site:

SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education)8120 Penn Ave. S., Suite 470
Bloomington, MN 55431
Phone: 952-946-7998
Web site:

SPAN-USA (Suicide Prevention Advocacy Network)1025 Vermont Ave., NW, Suite 1066
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-449-3600
Fax: 202-449-3601
Web site:

Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention ProgramP.O. Box 644
Westminster, CO 80030-0644
Phone: 303-429-3530
Fax: 303-426-4496
Web site:


Smith, Sen. Gordon. Remembering Garrett: One Family's Battle with a Child's Depression, 2007.

Jamison, Kay Redfield. Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide. Knopf, 1999.

Steel, Danielle. His Bright Light: The Story of Nick Traina. Delacorte Press, 1998.

Wrobleski, Adina. Suicide: Why? Afterwords, 1995.

Southwest Theater Needs 1980s Clothes

Dear Parents and Friends of SW Theater,

We know there are parents and others out there who have their 1980's wardrobes nestled safely in boxes in the attic - it's time to bring them back out - not just to the light of day, but to the spotlight of SW's Main Stage!!! 
Imagine:  your heavily shoulder-padded, baggy-pants-with-the-tight-ankles wrinkle-free "suit" may be perfect for the philandering Lloyd.  Your banana clip may be just the right touch for our sensible Belinda's hair.  
Wouldn't it be fun to put your 1980's wardrobe to some good use!  We may not be able to use everything you offer, but we are definitely on the hunt for all things '80s. 
Bring yours to the Costume Shop any day between 3 & 7 pm - or make an appointment with Ms. Meyer for another time - and you just may see your clothing under the Bright Lights!

Seriously - we need your clothes!


Emily Meyer,

Costumer, Noises Off!

Southwest Dance Fundraiser Nov. 16th at Patrick's Cabaret

Dance Fundraiser for the Southwest Dance November 16th
Advanced Dance Company will perform their first semester collaborative duets at Patrick's Cabaret.  A variety of genres and themes have brought students together.

Program starts at 7:00 pm

Southwest Nordic Introduction Meeting Nov. 3rd 7:00 pm

Southwest Nordic Kick-off Meeting -- November 3rd

An informational meeting for parents and skiers will be held on Monday, November 3 at 7pm in the Southwest Media Center.  
Skiers with all levels of experience (and those having no experience!) are invited to join the NordicTeam.  
Meet the coaches, get an overview of the season, training schedule and trips.  
Meet others involved in this great community and have yourquestions answered, and see what we're all about--embracing and enjoying winter!

Free Concert Sunday Nov. 2 at Southwest 2 and 3:00 pm

FREE Concert on Sunday November 2 at 3pm SWHS Auditorium

Minnesota Symphonic Winds 

Music and dance go hand in hand (or is it foot?) and the MSW revels in this pairing with a program full of moving energy.
The concert opens with Sheldon’s Danse Celestiale, and Mahr’s Mourning Dances before guest trombonist Larry Zimmerman takes the stage for Basler’s Dances for Trombone and Wind Ensemble.
Popular transcriptions will fill out the performance: Borodin’s Ballet Music from Prince Igor, Satie’s Gymnopodies, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Dance of the Tumblers.

Southwest Football Sectional Finals Tonight at Bloomington Jefferson 7:00 pm

Southwest Lakers in the Section Final Game

Come cheer on your Southwest Laker Football Team on Friday 10/31/14 at 7:  PM, as they take on Bloomington Jefferson in the 3AAAAAFootball Sectional Finals at Bloomington Stadium. 
Bloomington Stadium is located at 90th Street and Penn Avenue in Bloomington.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

How To Be Your Teen's Emotion Coach - Dr. Daivd Walsh


How to Be Your Child or Teen's Emotion Coach: 5 Simple Steps

Emotion coaching helps kids learn how to manage powerful emotions and turns would-be power struggles into learning opportunities. Whether or not you know it, your children already sees you as their emotion coach. So here are five steps to start honing your coaching skills:
  1. Listen. Pay attention to your child or teen. What are they doing? What are they saying? What are they trying to communicate to you by their words and/or behaviors?
  2. Name your child’s emotions. “Maria I can see that you are very frustrated. Is that right? Yeah. You are really frustrated.”
  3. Validate the feeling. “It makes sense that you are frustrated. You want to go to your friend’s house now but there isn’t time before dinner. Are you feeling angry with me for not letting you go now?”
  4. Address the poor behavior. Emotion coaching doesn’t mean letting kids get away with inappropriate behavior. In fact, setting and enforcing clear limits and consequences is an important strategy to help kids regulate their emotions. “It is okay to feel angry and I know you were looking forward to hanging out with Veronica. But it is not okay to throw all your books on the floor. You can take some time to calm down. Then please pick your books up off the floor and put them back on the shelf before dinner. If you choose not to pick your books up then you are choosing to not go over to Veronica’s tomorrow.”
  5. Work together to come up with different ways to deal with those feelings. At a later point you can process what happened. “Next time you feel that frustrated with me what could you do differently? What could you have said? Seeing your friends is really important to you and I understand that. Family dinner is really important to me. What could we do different next time to avoid this conflict?” With very young children it is helpful to give them the words: “You can say ‘Mama I am frustrated. Please help me!’”
Emotion coaching also begs us to think harder about the source of powerful emotions. Was it really about going to a friend’s house, or was it that someone said something really mean to her on the way home from school? Was it really about your son not wanting to pick up toys or was he exhausted and hungry after a long day at preschool?
How you express your own feelings either escalates or diffuses the power struggle. Part of being an effective emotion coach means modeling emotional regulation. Of course, this is easier said than done. Here are some tips for your own emotional regulation:
  • Adjust your expectations. Know your child’s developmental stage and/or their specific abilities. Having unrealistic expectations for what your child is capable of sets everyone up for failure. It is unreasonable to expect eighteen-month- olds to be able to calm themselves, identify their emotions and come up with words on their own to express their feelings.
  • Take a break. With older children, it is okay to take a break and come back to the issue. “I am too angry right now to talk about this. Let’s take a break and discuss this in fifteen minutes.”
  • Know your triggers. Are you most likely fly off the handle if nothing is ready in the morning and you are late getting out the door? Create systems that reduce your stress in those predictably tense situations.
  • Apologize if you need to. “I was really frustrated that you weren’t listening to me earlier when I asked you to turn off the computer and come to dinner, but I shouldn’t have yelled at you like that. I am sorry for yelling.”

Dr. Dave Walsh

David Walsh, Ph.D. has emerged as one of the world’s leading authorities on children, teens, parenting, family life, and the impact of technology on children’s health and development. He spent 10 years teaching and coaching high school students before joining Fairview Health Services in Minneapolis to develop and direct innovative counseling programs for youth and families. In 1995, Dr. David Walsh founded the internationally renowned National Institute on Media and the Family, which he led until 2010. He recently founded Mind Positive Parenting to help caring adults better understand how to help kids thrive in the 21st century.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Southwest Band Concert Thursday 7:00 pm October 30

Band Concert Thursday Night October 30 at 7:00 pm

Southwest Football Friday October 31

Sectional Win!

Southwest Football Team plays Bloomington Jefferson on Halloween!

More infomation forthcoming.  Mark your calendar for Friday, October 31 and Southwest Football.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Join Southwest Debate Team

Debate, Debate, Debate-It's Not Too Late!
The debate team is still recruiting.  Now that you're done with that fall sport, it's a perfect time to join debate! 
The season is split in two and we are about to start our second topic debating US counter-terrorism policies. 
The team meets Tuesdays and Thursdays after school in Mr. Hoselton's room E101. 
If you have questions or interest in joining, stop by a practice or contact Russell Pekala at

Southwest Laker Footbal Saturday Oct. 25 at 7 pm

Football Section Game

Saturday,  October 25 at SWHS stadium at 7PM vs. St. Louis Park

Band Geeks - Closing Night! Get Your Tickets Now

Band Geeks
Band Geeks - Footlights Musical

New this year! Credit cards accepted in the lobby! for General seating only.
Band Geeks! the Musical is a high-stepping tribute to high school marching bands and misfits everywhere. 

Last Performance - Friday - October 224, 2014

Curtain at 7:00 pm

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

City Champion Volleyball at Eden Prairie 7:00 pm Thursday the 23rd

Minneapolis Volleyball City Champions!

After winning first round against St. Louis Park, the Volleyball team travels to Eden Prairie
Thursday, October 23 with game time at 7:00 pm

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Watch for NO PARKING Signs and Alleys are NOT THROUGH STREETS


NO PARKING Signs are located on all the blocks surrounding Southwest High School.  Some are NO PARKING at any time and others are Permit ONLY.   If you park in areas surrounding the school be very alert to all the posted signs.  Illegal parking will be ticketed and frequently towed.

The alley between Beard and Chowen and 47th and 48th street is NOT a through street.  There is a city ordinance that declares that residential alleys are NOT through street and if you are using it as such, you can be ticketed.
Be a good neighbor when driving or walking around the school.  We want all our children and families to be safe.  We want to work with all the neighbors and promotes a safe and friendly neighborhood.

Southwest Students Perform in the University of St. Thomas Honor Band Festival

University of St. Thomas
Honor Band Festival
featuring internationally acclaimed
Chinese conductor
Joseph Cheung
Bea Chihak - Honor Concert Band - Euphonium
Will Kirkpatrick - Honor Symphonic Band - Trumpet
Lily Ren - Honor Symphnic Band - Flute
Jack Strand - Honor Concert Band - Percussion
Zac Wright - Honor Concert Band - Percussion

Monday, October 20, 2014

Southwest Community Education Happenings

Southwest Community Education Updates
Fall Programming & Classes for Students, Parents & Families
·You can still register for 150+ classes starting the week of Oct. 6.  Registration fees are pro-rated after our start date.  Register by phone, mail, on-line, or in person.
·Register Swimming lessons for children, adults, and also lap swim on Mondays, Tuesdays & Thursdays.
· A variety of seasonal recreation trips & tours.  October 11th – Apple-n-Cheese Fall Festival Trip
Prep classes for ACT.  Register now for ACT preparation classes are in November
Driver’s Education classes:  Register now for Driver’s Education classes beginning December 1st. 
Family Halloween Carnival on Friday, October 24th. 
Join us on Friday, October 24th, from 7:00-9:00 PM, for our annual Family Halloween Party co-sponsored by Southwest Community School, Pershing Park, Linden Hills Park, Lake Harriet Community School, Linden Hills & Washburn branch libraries. The party is open to all interested families--you're welcome to join us regardless of where you live. There is a $2.00 entry fee per person at the door. Activities include carnival games, a raffle for door prizes, aMoonwalk, magic shows, puppet shows, treats and prizes, and lots of fun things for children ages 1-99!  For more information call our office (612) 668-3100.

Southwest Study Buddies tutoring at Lake Harriet Lower Campus
       The Study Buddies Program starts on Thursday, October 20th.  Thirty SWHS students will be tutoring children at Lake Harriet Lower Campus () on Mondays 3:30-5:00 p.m. for 8 consecutive weeks each quarter.  Students help in the fall, winter, or spring (or a combination of quarters).  Community Service hours are available and acknowledged for NHS, IB, or college applications/scholarshipletters

Southwest Green Team
The next Green Team meeting is Monday, October 13th.  The Guest speaker is from the Hennepin Environmental Department.  Topic: “Food, Waste Reduction & Garbage”
The Green Team will be visiting the Mpls. Farmer’s Market, Afton State Park for a picnic, and  to Afton Apple Orchard & the Corn Maze on Saturday, October 25.
The Green Team will be taking an environmental tour of the Brooklyn Park Recycling Center on Wednesday, November 5th

Southwest Lacrosse Will Rake Your Leaves

Don't like to rake?  Let the Mpls Boys Lacrosse Team do it for you!!
    The Minneapolis Boys Lacrosse team will be raking in your neighborhood on Saturday November 1st and Sunday Nov 2nd.  We will rake and bag your leaves.  The suggested donation  for this service is 75.00 minimum for a standard city lot and 125.00 for a larger city lot.  Support Minneapolis Lacrosse while getting your raking done.  Contact Amy Neal @ 612-963-1618 to schedule your time.

Financial Aid Presentation Tuesday Oct. 21 - 7 pm

Financial  Aid Presentation, Tuesday, October 21
7pm in the Media Center.
This presentation will provide an overview of the financial aid process, including types of financial aid, cost of attendance, using financial information in the search process, the CSS Profile and family contribution. All students and families are invited to attend this presentation, however information will be most relevant for seniors.  Contact Ms. Jastrow ( or Ms. Van Pernis ( at 612.668.3065 with any questions.

Band Geeks - Footlights Musical October 23, 24 and 25

Band Geeks - Footlights Musical
Double Triple Night is Friday, October 24! Double or Triple your ticket price as a donation to SWHS Theatre and receive VIP seating in the Center Front section until sold out!
New this year! Credit cards accepted in the lobby! for General seating only.


High School's annual fall Footlights 9th and 10th Grade Musical presents Band Geeks!

Band Geeks! the Musical is a high-stepping tribute to high school marching bands and misfits everywhere. With just nine members and dwindling funds, the Cuyahoga High Marching Beavers are close to extinction. When a troubled athlete is relegated to their ranks, Elliott, the tuba-playing band captain and Laura, his best friend, must find a way to unite the band, overcome their pride and embrace their inner geek.
An Upbeat Comedy
Book by Tommy Newman and Gordon Greenberg
Music and Lyrics by Gaby Alter, Mark Allen, and Tommy Newman
Based on a concept by Tommy Newman
For General Donations to SWHS Theatre, please click here:

October Area C to Discuss Future School Funding - Oct. 22 - 6-8 pm at Jefferson Community School

October Area C Meeting Wednesday @ Jefferson 

Wednesday, October 22nd 

6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Area C Meeting at Jefferson Community School

1200 West 26th Street 55405

refreshments at 5:30 | childcare and interpreters available
Student-based funding is also on the agenda.
for general questions about future funding:

 Student Based Allocations (SBA /WSF)


**Answers to questions asked during parent-advisory council meetings in Areas A, B and C.

How does money follow w/-mid-year changes? link to all questions

  • Introduction to Student Based Allocation including other school districts using student-based allocations link
  • Implications of student-based allocation for MPS link
  • Student-based allocation project organization link
Family Engagement Liaisons will be going out to school site councils with a partner from the Finance Department.  Check with your school site council to see when we are coming

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Southwest Lakers All-State

Two Southwest Lakers make the all-state soccer team, Adam Ulring and Callen Knutson

Southwest proposal for Autonomous School Status

Southwest High School is in the process of applying to the Minneapolis Board of Education to become a Community Partnership School, specifically the autonomous school status.

Our leadership team, parents and students developed a proposal.  If you are interested please review the DRAFT using this link.

CPS Initial Site Plan

If you comments ideas, questions or thoughts, please email me directly.

Georgia Courts - Parents Liable For Children's Facebook Insults

Wall Street Journal Oct. 15, 2015
by Jacob Gershman

Parents can be held liable for what their kids post on Facebook FB -0.52%a Georgia appellate court ruled in a decision that lawyers said marked a legal precedent on the issue of parental responsibility over their children’s online activity.
The Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that the parents of a seventh-grade student may be negligent for failing to get their son to delete a fake Facebook profile that allegedly defamed a female classmate.
The trouble started in 2011 when, with the help of another student, the boy constructed a Facebook profile pretending to be the girl. He used a “Fat Face” app to make her look obese and posted profane and sexually explicit comments on the page depicting her as racist and promiscuous, according to court documents.
When the girl found out about it, she told her parents who then 'complained to the school’s principal. The school punished the boy with two days of in-school suspension and alerted his parents, who grounded him for a week.
But for the next 11 months, according to the appeals court opinion, the page stayed up. It wasn’t deleted until Facebook deactivated the account at the urging of the girl’s parents, the opinion said. The girl’s lawyer says the child’s parents didn’t immediately confront the boy’s parents because their school refused to identify the culprit for confidentiality reasons.
“Given that the false and offensive statements remained on display, and continued to reach readers, for an additional eleven months, we conclude that a jury could find that the [parents'] negligence proximately caused some part of the injury [the girl] sustained from [the boy's] actions (and inactions),” wrote Judge John J. Ellington in the opinion, which was handed down Oct. 10. He was joined by two other judges on the panel.
The appeals court, though, agreed with a trial court’s dismissal of another part of the lawsuit that sought to hold the parents responsible for allowing the page to be posted in the first place.
Atlanta litigator Edgar S. Mangiafico Jr., who defended the boy’s parents, told Law Blog that the court’s decision was marred by inconsistencies and said he would appeal the ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court.
Mr. Mangiafico said when he was researching the question of parental liability with respect to cyberbullying, he couldn’t find any case in which a court found parents negligent for failing to supervise their kids’ computer use.
Natalie Woodward, an Atlanta attorney who represented the girl, said she also believed the outcome was a novel one.
The ruling shows, she told Law Blog, that in “certain circumstances, when what is being said about a child is untrue and once the parents know about it, then liability is triggered.”

Monday, October 13, 2014

Southwest Laker Football Tops Washburn after 26 years.


October 7, 1988 was the last time a Southwest Laker Football team was victorious over Washburn.

Fast Forward 26 years -- On October 10, 2014 Southwest Laker Football defeated Washburn at its homecoming on its field 14-13.

Over the years the rivalry experienced its highs and lows.  Sometimes the emotions overcame common sense and silliness was a sad part of the events.  In many years the neighborhood match up was bragging rights for an entire next year and was part of of growing up.

This year's game was highly attended and a close game right to the finish.  It was high school sports at its best.  Friday night lights, big crowd, cheering and all the celebration and suffering that is a part of the competitive event.

The behavior of both crowds was within the bounds of sportsmanship.  It was a high spirited game, full of excitement and emotion.  It was a great football game.

Congratulation Lakers!  We are thrilled to be back in the winning column.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Southwest Classic Debate Continues Winning Ways

Southwest Debate Team hosted the second Classic Debate Tournament of this season.  Twenty-two schools and 244 students from across Minnesota participated in the tournament.  Southwest is the only Minneapolis City School in the Classic League.

The Southwest Novice team with the best record was Mia Naselaris-Curtis and Natalie Mackey.

The Southwest Junior Varsity team of Rewan Abdelwahab and Holden Platt placed second with a perfect 4-0 record.

In the varsity division, Ben Stevens and Lily Ren placed third with a record of 4-0.  The team of Henry Aoki and Russell Pekala placed seventh with a 2-2 posting for the tournament.

Outstanding start to another exciting Classic Debate Season.

Southwest Community Education Update

Southwest Community Education Updates

Fall Programming & Classes for Students, Parents & Families

·You can still register for 150+ classes starting the week of Oct. 6.  Registration fees are pro-rated after our start date.  Register by phone, mail, on-line, or in person.

·Register Swimming lessons for children, adults, and also lap swim on Mondays, Tuesdays & Thursdays.

· A variety of seasonal recreation trips & tours.  October 11th – Apple-n-Cheese Fall Festival Trip

Prep classes for ACT.  Register now for ACT preparation classes are in November

Driver’s Education classes:  Register now for Driver’s Education classes beginning December 1st. 

Family Halloween Carnival on Friday, October 24th

Join us on Friday, October 25th, from 7:00-9:00 PM, for our annual Family HalloweenParty co-sponsored by Southwest Community School, Pershing Park, Linden Hills Park, Lake Harriet Community School, Linden Hills & Washburn branch libraries. The party is open to all interested families--you're welcome to join us regardless of where you live. There is a $2.00 entry fee per person at the door. Activities include carnival games, a raffle for door prizes, a Moonwalk, magic shows, puppet shows, treats and prizes, and lots of fun things for children ages 1-99!  For more information call our office (612) 668-3100.


Southwest Study Buddies tutoring at Lake Harriet Lower Campus

            The Study Buddies Program starts on Thursday, October 30th.  Thirty SWHS students will be tutoring children at Lake Harriet Lower Campus () on Mondays 3:30-5:00 p.m. for 8 consecutive weeks each quarter.  Students help in the fall, winter, or spring (or a combination of quarters).  Community Service hours are available and acknowledged for NHS, IB, or college applications/scholarship letters


Southwest Green Team

The next Green Team meeting is Monday, October 13th.  The Guest speaker is from the Hennepin Environmental Department.  Topic: “Food, Waste Reduction & Garbage”

TheGreen Team will be visiting the Mpls. Farmer’s Market, Afton State Park for a picnic, and  to Afton Apple Orchard & the Corn Maze on Saturday, October 25.

TheGreen Team will be taking an environmental tour of the Brooklyn Park Recycling Center on Wednesday, November 5th

SWHS Flu shot clinic: October 14th 3-7:00 pm Cafeteria

SWHS Flu shot clinic:   October 14th    3-7:00 pm    Cafeteria

Ages 6 months and older may receive the flu vaccination.  Parents or guardians must be present.

Accepted health insurance plans are listed on the consent form.

Health insurance card(s) or a photo copy (front only) is required for those with Health insurance.

Billing Agreement and Insurance Information –

1.  Adults or children with insurance:  MVNA will bill insurance provider.

2.  Individuals without insurance: vaccination will be covered by the Kohl’s Grant (no fee to client)

PTSA Speaker Oct. 28 7 pm - Motivation, Study Skills and Self Esteem - Jason Brown from Project Success

PTSA Speaker from Project Success- October 28th

Project Success Director of Curriculum Jason Brown will be presenting on

Motivation, Study Skills and Self Esteem--October 28 at 7 pm in the Media Center

as part of the PTSA Speakers Series.

Please join us to learn more about how to motivate your students from a great organization doing great work at Southwest and beyond.
For more information see this recent article: Project Success Finds Academics and Soft Skills are not Either/Or or contact the PTSA!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Minnesota Symphonic Winds to Open Season at Southwest High School

For immediate release                   Contact:  Roxanne Seidel
October 10, 2014             612/867-4306


Minneapolis, MN. . .The Minnesota Symphonic Winds will perform the inaugural program of its 2014-15 concert season on Sunday, November 2nd at 3:00 p.m.   Under the direction of Dr. Timothy Mahr, the Winds will perform concert selections that highlight classic and contemporary dance music composed and arranged for wind band.  “Moving to the Music: Celebrating the World of Dance,” will also feature guest soloist Larry Zimmerman, trombone.  The concert venue is Southwest High School, located at 3414 West 47th Street in South Minneapolis.  The Minnesota Symphonic Winds performance is free and open to the public.
The autumn concert of dance-themed selections will open with the 90-member Minnesota Symphonic Winds performing the exciting Danse Celestiale, one of composer Robert Sheldon’s most popular works.  Dramatic fanfares and dance gestures dominate the opening and closing of the piece, with a lyrical mid-section providing a majestic contrast.  Next MSW conductor Timothy Mahr directs his own 2001 composition entitledMourning Dances.  Of the piece, Mahr states: “The work structures itself as a series of dances, all which seem in my mind to be natural responses involving physical movement to the wide array of emotional states encountered after the loss of someone dear to the heart.  Some are dances of grief or confusion, while others are dances of fond memory.”
Performing with the Minnesota Symphonic Winds will be guest artist Larry Zimmerman, presenting Paul Basler’s Dances for Trombone and Wind Ensemble (1996).  Minneapolis resident Zimmerman is a member of the Grammy-winning Chestnut Brass Company, and is Principal Trombonist of the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra and the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra.  He serves as low brass instructor at several Minnesota colleges and universities, including St. Olaf College, Bethel University, The University of St. Thomas and Gustavus Adolphus College.
Selections to follow include Ballet Music from the opera Prince Igor, by Alexander Borodin (movements II, III and IV), as well as Erik Satie’s lush Gymnopedie No.1 from the composer’s set of three dances for piano.  The latter was transcribed for band by Alfred Reed (after Claude Debussy’s orchestration) and will feature the MSW flute section.  The Minnesota Symphonic Winds will conclude their concert program with Rimsky-Korsakov’s popular Dance of the Tumblers, from his opera The Snow Maiden.  Transcribed for band by Terry Vosbein, the piece depicts acrobats dancing for Russian royalty, providing an exciting and lively finish to an afternoon of danced-themed wind ensemble music.
For more information regarding this or future Minnesota Symphonic Winds 2014-15 season concerts, visit the band’s website at or call Minnesota Symphonic Winds at 612-5MSWINDS (612/567-9463).  Also find MSW on Facebook (search Minnesota Symphonic Winds) or on Twitter (mswinds).