Friday, January 23, 2009

Anti-bullying program launched

This week I accompanied Board Chair Bev Esslinger and Assistant Superintendent Ron MacNeil at Glenora School's launch for the Olweus Anti-bullying program. MLA Heather Klimchuk was also in attendance and spoke of the Provincial government's commitment to stopping bullying.

The introduction of the Olweus program was sponsored by the Evan Grykuliak Memorial Society, which was formed to provide a positive legacy to Evan's senseless murder at his 17th birthday party in 2006. The group researched many anti-bullying programs and picked this one (developed in Norway) because it is evidence-based and has an impressive success rate. Evan's friends and family raised the money necessary to train the teachers and parent volunteers in the program at Glenora. As well, the Memorial Society established a scholarship to be awarded annually to the student that most exemplifies Evan’s spirit. It is an incredible testimony to the power of people coming together to take steps to prevent violence.

You can learn more about the Olweus program at

I was honoured to be present at the ceremony and to talk to Evan's mom and family friends. Their dedication to improving the lives of children is remarkable and I hope seeing their work in action in our schools (the program is also being piloted at Delton School) will help to heal the pain of their tragic loss.

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