On a sunny Sunday morning, Kim Carton and her two children were on their way to school in Calgary.
They’re about to head into their first day of kindergarten.
“We just feel so fortunate to be here with these two little kids,” Carton said.
Carton, an English teacher at a local school, is hoping to use her experience to teach the children about bullying prevention.
“It’s really important for them to understand what’s really going on in the world, what’s happening around them,” she said.
“There’s a lot of bullying happening, but I think it’s important for young kids to be able to understand how bullying is impacting the community.”
While she’s trying to do that, Carton says she also wants her students to understand that bullying is not the problem.
“My kids are very sensitive about this stuff,” she explained.
“I feel like they understand that I’m going to get bullied by people, and I’m not going to stop doing that.”
The idea of teaching kids about how to be bullies started with her youngest son, who is also an English language teacher.
Cartons two daughters were in her classroom last year when they were bullied by a classmate, she said, and she had them write down their thoughts and feelings on the incident.
“They’re not really in the mood for a lot more of this,” she added.
“You need to let them know that they’re not alone.
You’re not going out of your way to make them feel uncomfortable.”
Carton was inspired to teach her children about the importance of listening to and learning from other people after a friend of hers who works as a teacher at her school was bullied and then later committed suicide.
Cartony said she’s now learning to take action.
“This is not something that you just do on your own,” she continued.
“Because I think there’s more than just you as a parent to be aware of and be able learn from.”
Cartons daughter has been bullied by classmates before, but she has never seen her father go through the experience.
“She doesn’t understand what bullying is,” she remembered.
“And I don’t know if that’s something that I’ve dealt with before, or what I’ve been through, but what I do know is that she understands the impact that bullying can have on her and what it can do to other people.”
Cartony says it’s easy to get wrapped up in a negative conversation about bullying.
“But the things that you see in the media, you have to remember that’s not the whole story,” she pointed out.
“The thing is, we have to let the media tell the story, and it’s not going away.”