Anti-Bullying day has become an annual event in most BC communities, but in the Alberni Valley work to stop the destructive and damaging behaviour is a year-long effort.
Thanks to a School District 70 program that teams older students with elementary aged kids, officials say they’re seeing a difference in the way kids are treating each other.
Wrestling with his little girl’s ponytail, former Canadian Olympic Wrestler Travis Cross has happily handed over medal hopes now for a chance to raise his young family in the town he grew up in, Port Alberni.
On this Anti-Bullying day the tough guy proudly wears pink to stand up against bullying that he remembers from his own school days.
“Yeah I talked to my kids on the way to school about bullying and that they need to be leaders in this,” says Cross.
It’s a message those kids are hearing on a regular basis in school too, as the Alberni School District takes a different anti-bullying approach.
“It’s something that we talk about all the time, not just on anti-bullying day, so,” says the father of three.
One that teachers say appears to be working.
The district-wide program teams high school students in the leadership program with elementary aged kids to show them a positive model, to ask them questions about what they would do and in essence give them a buddy to talk to.
“I think it helps to have other students that have been, obviously we have all been through school, but that have been closer to their grade and that are like younger,” says Erica Senger.
The Grade 11 student says in just the few years the programs been offered, it’s changed attitudes about bullying.
“They usually have a story or two about they seen someone on the playground that did this differently or they did this differently,” says Senger.
The program’s goal to make bullying against anyone, everyone’s business.
“The kids are more educated about it. They’re more vocal when we come in here. They have way more ideas than I thought I would ever have in grade four or five,” says Senger.
So that one bullying really does stop here, a young parent’s dream, that this community is throwing its best hopes at to make a reality.