On April 4, Wabannutao Eeyou School (WES) in Eastmain launched a three-pronged Anti- Bullying Program focused on bullying behaviors within our school and our community. The three-pronged approach consists of: an already successful plan entitled “Steps to Respect”; a police-sponsored Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program; and a “Good News Tepee,” a plan to recognize, reward and encourage positive student behaviours.

Part of the official launch involved the presentation of several bullying skits, starring an array of amateur stars, Russell Crowe/Nicole Kidman wanna-bes and the members of WES teaching staff.

We seek the support and cooperation of school staff and administration, our business community, band office, school board personnel, community members and last, but by no means least, our students. The degree of success will undoubtedly depend on the degree of support we receive.

While we aim for “zero tolerance,” we realize it will not be achievable overnight. It’s a long road that has no turn. Will this program be the answer to all our ills?

Only time will tell.

Critics will say that similar programs have been tried before and failed. On behalf of the Anti-Bullying Committee, I can only say that a lot of time and effort has gone into the creation of this program. We may be disappointed if we fail, but we are doomed if we don’t try.

(Chris Hatch is Chairperson, of WES Anti-Bullying Steering Committee)