Bullying Prevention

Olweus Bullying Prevention ProgramTalmud Torah has implemented the internationally recognized Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.

Talmud Torah is one of only a few select Edmonton schools to have the opportunity to take part in this well researched and successful program. School staff has undergone extensive Olweus Program training. The program includes the services of a part time child psychologist at the school.

Program Launch Event

On December 8th, 2009 Talmud Torah students, staff and parents celebrated the launch of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. It was an educational, inspirational and interactive evening that showcased the work that is taking place in our school.

TT students and parents attend launch Olweus event
Talmud Torah is taking proactive and preventative measures to ensure our students continue to grow and excel in a safe and caring environment. It is also our goal to help build empathy and resilience in our students to prepare them for the challenges in the years ahead. With the help of Jenifer Fontaine, psychologist with EPSB, parents were presented with information about the effects of bullying, the long-term ramifications as well some behaviours that might indicate bullying is taking place. The chairman of the Evan Society, Jon Rossall, also presented on behalf of the foundation. This group is working to implement the Olweus program in as many EPSB schools as possible. It was a very informative evening for both parents and students and we were thrilled with the turn-out.

ppt_screenOur Junior High students made our school very proud that evening. The Grade 7 class presented their Powerpoint slide show on “Heroes” and the Grade 9 class performed their music video and song to “Eye of the Tiger”. Both presentations showed a great deal of thought, insight and creativity.

Our elementary students took part in a variety of engaging activities that showcased the ongoing work at the classroom level. The students did a fantastic job of demonstrating the skills and attitudes they have learned through the Olweus program.

Austen Radowits

Austin RadowitsAusten Radowits is a 15 year-old young man who sustained a brain injury at the age of 14. This injury is known as a Diffused Axonal brain injury. Austen’s recovery from his physical injury was difficult and became even more complicated by stresses placed on him by being a target of bullying in his school environment.

Austen’s presentation began as a “communications project” for his 4H club. Given the encouragement from his support group and seeing a need in the community, Austen has taken the “bull or bully by the horns” and is out telling his story. Austen has recently been in touch with CAPS (Canadian Association of Professional Speakers), and they are in the process of making him a member.

Our Junior High students and parents had the privilege of hearing Austen’s story and how he is coping with the after effects of being the target of bullying.  Austen tells his story today with the hope of touching the life of at least one person.

When Austin Radowits speaks, people listen

An Open Letter from the Radowits Family

WOW, what a welcome!

We would just like to touch on last night as it has touched us. When we arrive at a school, we are always nervous, scared of the unknown. How will Austen be received? Will he be able to convey his story, his message to another group of youth?

Knowing these inner fears one can appreciate the ice breaking introduction we were to receive. “Oh no, didn’t anyone let you know that tonight was cancelled?” said one of the teachers. I can say it wasn’t quite what we were expecting. But when we finally identified who we were, not a travelling rodeo show coming to rent the gym, we were given a precious gift, humor.

The hustle and bustle of last minute preparations was well under way. As I sat in the gym watching the children file in, sit down; one could not help feel the excitement. The two young men presented a moving power point on inspirational people from Canada, Israel and the United States. My family looked at one another and thought what an amazing school.

Then we broke into the classrooms, and the students, teachers, parents, and grandparents filed in. We watched as they listened to Austen, involving themselves in the conversation by asking questions and giving insight.

Back in the gym, we heard the grade nine’s singing “Eye of the Tiger” and watched their video “glow stick” dance. We listened to the singing of the Israeli National Anthem. Again we looked at each other and thought what an amazing community.

Austen, Katie, Royden and Samantha remained in the gym while I started hauling his gear out to the vehicle. When I came back into the gym, then and only then as I stood and looked around was I able to realize what we had been a part of. Not simply a school, nor a community, but a family. A family that cares about each other; loves each other. What a gift you’ve given us.

I truly believe that the Olweus structure will work. The Talmud Torah family is applying the Olweus guideline to an already solid, loving and caring foundation. May we be allowed to join our prayers into yours for a safe journey through this chapter of growth. If we can ever help repay the gift you’ve given us, please let us know.

The Radowits Family