Peer counseling

Laurie students hear straight from the horse’s mouth

By: Annalee Grant
Reporter, Cranbrook Daily Townsman

Laurie Middle School has taken a unique approach to talk to its students about
bullying.

The school has teamed up with Mount Baker Secondary School leadership students to
talk to their Grade 9s about bullying. Chris Olson, counselor at Laurie, said the message
hit home because it wasn’t just being barked at them by an adult.

“Our kids probably would listen and take a little bit more of it from their peers,” Olson
said.

The adults involved did form the outline of the presentation, delivered by Kya Sherret,
Malorie Balfour, Melissa Von Wittgenstein, Catherine Cameron and Landon Harvey.
Olson said the group interacted well with the younger students and allowed them to
be more open. She chose them because she had previously worked with them as peer
mentors in Grade 9 and they have since moved on to high school.

The students planned out what they were going to say around the outline and Cosnt. Lisa
Schlatter from the Cranbrook RCMP participated to drive the point home.

“We wanted the kids to know how serious this is,” Olson said.

What also made the message even stronger is that the five Mt. Baker students did the
presentation on their own time during their school’s semester break. They are planning
to deliver the same presentation to Grade 7 students during March, which will be done
during Mt. Baker’s lunch hours.

Olson said she isn’t surprised by what came up at the presentation, especially all the
concerns about switching into Mount Baker.

“It’s just that unknown,” she said.

When the topic of sexting came up, Olson said she still wasn’t surprised to hear it was
happening at her school.

“It happens,” she said. “It’s not just at Laurie.”

Olson said it’s up to adults and educators to teach students how to cope, and provide
them with the skills they need to make smart choices.

“We can support the kids,” she said. “We can inform them, educate them.”

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