Becoming Briggsy

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By Andrea Cordle
Westside Editor

Photos courtesy of Dr. Tonya Milligan
Briggs High School senior Caitlyn Slagle holds Briggsy, the school’s bunny who lives in the calming room and helps students cope with stress.
Briggsy is pictured here in one of the dresses she wears on special occasions.

The students and staff at Briggs High School will have “somebunny” to help them deal with stress.

Briggsy, a 2 or 3-year-old mellow and friendly white bunny, now spends her day in the calming room at Briggs High School helping students decompress.

“It’s been a stressful time for students and staff,” said Dr. Tonya Milligan, principal at Briggs.

Milligan said during a staff meeting, someone joked about bringing in a therapy dog. Another staff member said they knew someone who was fostering rescue bunnies through Ohio House Rabbit Rescue. The idea took off from there.

According to Milligan, Briggsy was one of about 15 bunnies living in a hoarding situation. She, and the other bunnies, were then released into a Columbus neighborhood to fend for themselves.

“House rabbits don’t do well in the wild,” said Milligan. “Briggsy was in pretty bad shape when she was picked up.”

The principal decided to give the bunny a one-week trial.

“She met with the students and just had an amazing affect on them,” said Milligan.

Briggsy has been at the school for several weeks now and her presence has already made a big impact on students.

Milligan said one student was so upset that she could barely communicate. That young lady was put in the calming room with Briggsy.

“We put the bunny in her hands and watched as the anger subsided. She was able to calm down and finally tell us what was wrong,” said Milligan. “You can’t be mad with a bunny in your hands.”

The calming room at Briggs High School is now full of toys and bedding for Briggsy. The items were donated, along with a few dresses that Briggsy will wear on special occasions, such as honor roll celebrations and award ceremonies. She goes home with either a student caretaker or a staff member on the weekends.

As long as the students are safe and the bunny is safe, Briggsy will have a home at Briggs High School.

“She is a member of our community; a part of the Briggs family,” said Milligan.

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