Led by their senior LINK crew, and the grade 10 WEB (Where Everyone Belongs) crew, the students and teachers at Seaway District High School in Iroquois made it clear that bullying has no place in school or community life.
During the week of November 18-22, there was a board wide initiative in schools to make students aware of the nature of bullying, and what can be done to stop it.
“There is more awareness of bullying, more discussion in the schools,” said teacher Heather Thompson, who also leads the successful LINK program at the high school which matches senior mentors with grade nine students. “Kids have to know that it is okay to stand up ‘for the silent.’ It takes only 10 seconds to stop the bullying when peers intervene.”
Lindsay Waddell, who is the teacher organizer (with fellow teacher Rodney Benton) of the WEB program that matches grade 10 students with intermediate school grade sevens, says the week of Anti-Bullying activities got kids thinking, and encouraged them to act. “We focused in WEB on how words can be harmful and hurtful. If your words are long-lasting, why not make them positive. We led discussions about ‘safe spheres’ and the ‘role of the bystander.’”
The high school/intermediate school staffs were very supportive of the anti-bullying activities, and welcomed WEB and LINK representatives into their classes to bring a message of tolerance and respect. The OPP has also been invited to present workshops on cyber-bullying, sadly a growing factor in recent, reported teen suicides.
Jessica Wright, a LINK senior, organized an anti-bullying scavenger hunt. A big flag with power words on it from LINK and a collage from WEB will be displayed in the school. Grades 7-12 students were also encouraged to sign the Anti-Bullying Banner and make a commitment.
Teachers Thompson and Waddell joined the students in the gym, all wearing pink to signify anti-bullying, for a large and positive group photo. Both had great praise for the leadership and the dedication displayed by their WEB and LINK students in this recent campaign.
“It’s amazing the amount of work our LINK and WEB kids take on, and follow through on. When you give kids responsibility, they don’t let you down.”