Learning anti-bullying through fun activities

Jodi
Jodi Schellenberg
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Sask. Rivers School Division students had a blast while learning about anti-bullying.

To start off Prince Albert’s Pink Shirt Day, a gym blast or pep rally was held in the new gymnasium at Carlton Comprehensive High School on Wednesday morning.

Students in Grade 4 to 6 from Sask. Rivers School Division schools gathered together at the gym to learn about anti-bullying and participate in fun activities.

Supporting an anti-bullying day in the school division is important because it helps the students, Sask. Rivers Supt. John Schultz said.

“It is important because we want to do whatever we can to support our students in having strategies to deal with different forms of bullying that can take place, ranging from online, around the different socials media, (and physical bullying) and just give them opportunities to realize there are lots of great ways to interact and lots of positive ways,” Schultz said. “That is one of the reasons that we had the pep rally was to let them enjoy some games and be on teams and just get some good social skills.”

Not only did the students participate in the gym blast, they also had the opportunity to meet Scott McHenry, a wide receiver with the Saskatchewan Roughriders who is working with the Red Cross to spread the anti-bullying message.

“For the last couple years I have been working with the Red Cross and I’ve been working with the RespectEd program, so I have been giving presentations to high schools and elementary schools all over Saskatchewan,” McHenry said. “I am just out here today to have fun with the kids and support them.”

He spoke to the students about what they need to work on to end bullying in their community.

“I think (Pink Shirt Day) is important because it is a great message -- just the fact that bullying is out there and it is something that needs to be stopped,” McHenry sad. “I feel very strongly about that.”

He said a lot of what the students learned during the day was through the Red Cross RespectEd program.

“Today is lot about education -- (the) kids are about to go through a bunch of workshops and learn a lot about bullying,’ McHenry said. “It is really just education and something like this, it was great to see the kids come, working together, having some fun and treating each other with respect. That is really what it is -- anti-bullying is treating everyone with respect.”

McHenry enjoyed being a part of Prince Albert’s Pink Shirt Day and said it was an honour to be a part of while representing both the Red Cross and the Riders.

Not only were the Red Cross and the Roughriders involved in the anti-bullying message but a number of Prince Albert organizations were involved as well, including the Compassionate Community Response Team (CCRT) and the Prince Albert Police Service Victim Services Unit.

“The most important thing from the whole day I’d like to mention is the spirit of co-operation in Prince Albert,” Schultz said. “You’ve seen different sectors coming together … that is what makes it a strong, powerful message to stand up against bullies.”

CCRT said the Pink Shirt Day fit in well with their Victims of Crime Awareness Week, which they have been hosting a number of events for around the community.

“It is a national awareness to look at the needs of victims, but also the services that are being provided in our communities,” said Helen Christensen, co-ordinator of the Victim Services Unit. “The message nationally is taking action. That is the theme of the week and this is a testament to how we are taking action to be able to engage our community in this way is an important part of what we are doing.”

Anti-bullying is a message that is very similar to the one they are trying to spread.

“I think it is really important that the message of bullying not be something that we tolerate in our society is an important part of what happens here,” Christensen said. “Having fun and doing interactive activities to get the message across to kids that they need to treat each other with kindness and to be respectful of one another goes further than being hurtful to one another is a big message.”

“I think it takes the whole world working together in order to make a change in bullying,” added Debbie Salmond, co-chair of CCRT and a sexual assault worker with Mobile Crisis. “I think if we all work together, we will all find an answer.”

Another important note all those involved wanted spread is the anti-bullying message should not just be a one-day event.

“One thing that is important to know is that today is anti-bullying or Pink Shirt Day but every day it is something you have to work on,” McHenry said. “It is not just a once a year type thing and hopefully they take things they learn today about the way you treat people and keep it going.”

Organizations: Prince Albert, Red Cross, Carlton Comprehensive High School Rivers School Division Roughriders Compassionate Community Response Team Victims of Crime Awareness Week

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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