ADSS Grade 11 leadership student Mackenzie Wutke leads AW Neill Grade 7 students through an exercise as part of an anti-bullying workshop.

Alberni students lead fight against bullying

A special Red Cross program is allowing Alberni high school students to teach younger students what bullying is and how it impacts others.

A special program funded by the United Way and taught by the Red Cross is allowing Alberni District Secondary School leadership students to teach younger students what bullying is and how it impacts others.

‘Beyond the Hurt’ is an anti-bullying education program that was taught by the Red Cross to 19 Grade 12 leadership students at Alberni District Secondary School last December.

Now certified anti-bullying trainers, the leadership students have fanned out across the school district to bring their message to elementary and middle school students.

The students were at AW Neill Middle School on Feb. 19 and were also slated to visit Maquinna and Alberni Elementary schools as well that day.

“Our students are everywhere every day doing something on bullying. They’re busy but it’s a positive busy,” said ADSS leadership teacher Mike Roberts.

According to the Canadian Council on Learning, bullying has three defining characteristics: the behaviour occurs repeatedly; there is the intent to do physical or emotional harm; and there is a power difference between the aggressor and the victim. Bullying is also a form of child abuse, the council notes.

AW Neill exerciseIn Port Alberni, the school workshops are the culmination of training the students took last December.

According to the Red Cross website, ‘Beyond the Hurt’ is a youth facilitated program focussed on bullying prevention among children ages 11 and older.

The program teaches students what bullying is, how to recognize it, strategies to prevent it and how to report it. “They really get a good sense of what healthy relationships are, and what emotional and playground bullying is,” Roberts said.

School District 70 officials solicited interest in the program to teachers in Alberni Valley schools last fall. “The response we got was overwhelming,” Roberts said. “There was clearly a need to have this discussion.”

According to a Red Cross official, the application from ADSS noted that teachers were seeing an increase in bullying and in relationship violence.“I haven’t seen those numbers personally so I can’t comment on them,” Roberts said.

Bullying has changed with the times. “When I was in school it was face-to-face, now though it’s done from behind a screen,” he said. “I was surprised when we were in a Grade 5 class how much they knew about cyber-bullying, Twitter and hashtags.”

ADSS leadership students brought their message to kids at AW Neill on Feb. 19.

Each grade has planned a series of initiatives leading up to Anti-Bullying Day on Feb. 26 including acts of kindness, guest speakers, and a poster campaign, AW Neill vice principal Ron Behnke said.

Behnke agreed that bullying has persisted despite increased public awareness and initiatives against it. “Bullying is in the culture. We need to work at it when opportunities present themselves, and they present themselves all the time.”

At ADSS, Roberts said the new high school has had an impact on the school’s social culture. “I’ve seen a change, big time, from the old school,” he said. “The common area, where students gather for lunch for instance, has mixed people and they get along better. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than it was.”

EJ Dunn Middle School has been in anti-bullying mode for the past several weeks, principal Steve Brown said.

Students watched Tagged, a show with an anti-bullying message performed by the Green Thumb Theatre. As well, students are scheduled to work with the ADSS group, and a guest speaker is also being brought in.

And lastly, students will be working on a series of reading and writing initiatives on Feb. 26. “This is something that requires a constant message. Not just one day but continuous events,” Brown said.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Twitter.com/AlberniNews

Just Posted

Martin Mars waterbombers’ firefighting days are past: Coulson

The famed Martin Mars air tankers continue to draw interest from potential… Continue reading

Alberni RCMP officers honoured for taking drunk driver off the streets

Constables Brian Kenny, Rob Jackson named to Alexa’s Team

Port Alberni man dies in single-vehicle collision

Pickup truck with three occupants went off the road on first day of May long weekend

Alberni hosts Island track and field championship

Secondary schools compete at Bob Dailey Stadium

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

SAR scaling back in Kilmer search, but friends will keep looking

Search for 41-year-old Cobble Hill dad hits six-day mark

Rachel Notley to skip premiers conference to focus on pipeline deal

Kinder Morgan has ceased all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline project until it receives assurances

B.C. tech company will power Uber Elevate

Moli and Uber announce research and development partnership.

Olympian sues USA Swimming, saying it failed to protect her

Ariana Kukors Smith alleges her former coach Sean Hutchison began grooming her for sexual abuse at the age of 13

Defence minister thanks troops for B.C. flood relief work

Harjit Sajjan says not only was military response quick, support from locals has been ‘tremendous’

Still no sign of missing father in Cowichan Valley

Search group for Ben Kilmer now stands 40 SAR volunteers and another 100 friends and concerned community members

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

Most Read