Understandably there is a measured degree of anxiety regarding Grade 7 students at the same school as Grade 12s. At Williams Lake Secondary School there is a group of 20 Grade 12s , the ‘Go to Team,’ whose mandate is to support younger students and to suppress bullying. In my four years of leading the Go to Team I have yet to encounter a case of a Grade 12 student putting pressure on, or bullying a Grade 8 student. Not a single case.
In this year’s survey of 94 Grade 8s we asked: since you’ve come to WL have you been pressured by Grade 12s to do drugs? To smoke cigarettes? To drink alcohol? To have sex? Of the 94 Grade 8s surveyed, not one student answered in the affirmative.
My personal observations and the survey data substantiate the literature; bullying is peer based, same age. One and two year age differences are the norm. With that said, change is difficult.
When change came to Anne Stevenson and the school hit the chopping block, we had a population of just over 300 students. At the public closure meeting, 600 people jammed into the gym, crammed into the stairways, and spilled out on to the grass. The meeting was ripe with passion, and the trustees who braved the meeting faced parents yelling and stomping in unison.
Fast forward, Oct. 2, 2012. The 300 people who showed up at WL to discuss the Board of Trustees’ proposal were in comparison, tepid and well managed. The Grade 7 to 12, one school, two campuses concept, proposes a population of 1,600 students and 3,200 parents. Three hundred people attended the WL meeting. There is a question that speaks loud and clear. Where were the other 2,900 parents? We can conclude that they have some degree of acceptance and belief in the Board’s proposal. Change is imminent.
Mike Levitt, M.A.