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School seeks to stop bullies
Tusarvik teacher says staff united in support for Healthy Youth Relationships program

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tusarvik School in Repulse Bay is the latest Kivalliq school to join the battle against bullying.

The Healthy Youth Relationships program was delivered in Tusarvik this past week, led by Rebecca Ulrich of the Canadian Red Cross in partnership with Jenny Tierney of the Embrace Life Council.

Teacher George Thompson said staff members were orientated for the first two days, before the students were brought into the program.

He said every staff member fully supports the program, which is badly needed in Repulse.

"We now have all kinds of resources to draw upon, and we're going to concentrate a lot more on anti-violence, anti-bullying and respectful relationships in our Aulajaaqtuq 10-12 and health curriculums," said Thompson.

"They taught a lesson with every class on anti-bullying and violence while they were here.

"The student reaction to the material has been great."

The visit was also used to have an abbreviated Red Cross babysitting course delivered.

Thompson said more than 20 students completed the babysitting course.

He said Ulrich and Tierney also talked to hamlet council about what their programs can do for Repulse.

"We had a mental health therapist, RCMP and social worker speak to classes at the school.

"We also made plans to hold an assembly, during which the students are given a pink T-shirt and stand in the shape of a heart while holding candles.

"We'd like to, sort of, introduce the program to the community by holding an awareness walk with banners and a police escort."

Thompson said the program is one step in reducing the problem of violence every community in Nunavut faces.

He said bullying has to be addressed quite often by staff members at Tusarvik.

"People don't know the extent of bullying and how it hurts so many students.

"There was a point in time when I hardly knew, and it was through the process of education that the light bulb came on for me.

"People don't want to intervene because it's too scary to stand up and say it's wrong.

"Hopefully, this will be a start in addressing that with the students, and we can take positive steps for the youth of our community."

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