Students at Crestomere School join together to begin their Olweus bully prevention program Feb. 28.

Students at Crestomere School join together to begin their Olweus bully prevention program Feb. 28.

Crestomere students unite with bully prevention program

“I’m very proud to have the program in my detachment area,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Cameron Chisholm

Bully prevention has taken on new meaning for Crestomere School.

Students and staff unveiled their STEP UP slogan Feb. 28 as part of the Olweus bully prevention program. Crestomere was one of two schools, Mecca Glen being the other, that are piloting the program for Wolf Creek Public Schools.

Principal Penny Mueller says the program identifies what bullying is and shows individuals ways to step out of their comfort zone and help others. STEP UP has four rules:

–        We will not bully others

–        We will help students who are bullied

–        We will include students who are left out

–        If we know that somebody is being bullied, we will tell and adult at school and an adult at home

Ponoka RCMP Staff Sgt. Cameron Chisholm was integral in bringing Olweus to the schools and looks forward to its implementation. “It`s one of the proven models and best practises for bully prevention by the National Crime Prevention Centre of Canada.“

“You have to look at what bullying does and the impact on individuals,“ he added.

He says bullying causes depression and issues with relationships and the Olweus program will help identify issues before they begin.

“I`m very proud to have the program in my detachment area,“ said Chisholm.

Parents who attended the unveiling were shown a video of the program from other areas. The video stated there are three factors to bullying:

–        It`s intentional

–        It repeats

–        There`s an imbalance of power

Olweus brings three ways to handling the issue by:

–        Dealing with the existing problems

–        Preventing future problems

–        Is school wide

Parents become an active part of the program and can work on bully prevention at home as well, which supports the endeavour. This helps create a consistent understanding of the behavioural expectations set for students.

Materials and training was paid for by a grant from Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) and executive director Shannon Boyce-Campbell feels there will be positive benefits to the schools. “Anything with kids and their energy is positive I think.

The program was paid for with a $6,300 grant from FCSS that the Ponoka Rotary Club applied for.

Every student and teacher had a STEP UP T-shirt and each grade presented their own observations of the program to parents. There was also a barbecue lunch for everyone who attended.