The Mope Squad
A Currere Exploration of an Unintended Result of a Teen-Suicide Prevention Program
This paper details the results of a currere exploration (Pinar, 1975) embarked upon by a group of recent high school graduates who called themselves the “Mope Squad.” The Mope Squad was an informal, mental-health, peer support group that began organically in response to the students’ high school’s implementation of an official teen-suicide prevention program called Hope Squad. According to the Hope Squad website, Hope Squad is a “school-based peer support team,” whose explicit curricular goals are to work with local health professionals to learn to “watch for at-risk students, provide friendship, identify suicide-warning signs, and seek help from adults” (Hopesquad, 2018, n.p.). The paper provides background into what the Hope Squad is, what its goals are, how it was implemented in this particular school, and how the Mope Squad was formed in response. I then provide results from a group interview with the Mope Squad in which I used the currere method as a framework to guide them through the process of developing, together, a clear picture of the circumstances that gave rise to the Mope Squad; an exploration of the future of the Mope Squad, both as an organization and for the individual members; an understanding of the relationship between the Hope Squad curriculum and the formation and function of the Mope Squad; and what actions might be taken by those interested in preventing student suicide and promoting mental health in schools. I close by reflecting in a meta-currereian sort of way on the interview process itself and the use of currere as a framework for conducting group interviews.
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