To address bullying and peer harassment in Brandon School Division, the province will provide $18,000 in support for a two-year bullying awareness program.
Called Beyond the Hurt, the program targets students in Grade 6 and up, and is run by the Canadian Red Cross.
"Bullying is not unique anywhere in Manitoba, or actually anywhere in Canada, it’s a phenomenon around the world," said Premier Greg Selinger, who announced the funding at École New Era School on Tuesday. "There’s things we can do to prevent bullying and it starts with respecting people, respect for each individual regardless of their background, or where they come from or their age or gender or their orientation."
Beyond the Hurt uses a public-health approach with an emphasis on building skills with students, teachers and parents to reduce and prevent bullying. Part of the program includes peer-to-peer training.
"We in Manitoba want to see less bullying and more respect," Selinger said. "This announcement and this partnership will go a long way in creating an atmosphere where people can learn and grow up in a safe environment as individuals that are part of the community."
Brandon’s Youth Revolution group will be involved, along with five participating schools: King George, New Era, St. Augustine, Earl Oxford and Betty Gibson.
"This program has been very successful in other communities across Canada, and we’re really proud to be able to offer it here in Brandon over the next two years," said Tannis Nostedt, Western Canada director with the Canadian Red Cross.
BSD board chair Mark Sefton said the division hopes to get the program started this year, with a goal of carrying it on for years to come.
"Bullying is always there," he said. "But bullying is more pervasive and yet it’s subtle at the same time, and that’s part of the trickiness of it."
Cyberbullying is becoming more of a problem, which often happens outside of school hours but the issues can carry over into the school day, Sefton said.
"It’s so exciting to be able to partner with the Red Cross and the province on things like this," Sefton said.
"These are our leaders of tomorrow and we need to do whatever we can to enable them to see that potential."