Ladysmith Secondary School is taking a proactive role in the White Ribbon Campaign.
The campaign, led by men worldwide, is over 20 years old and was set up in order to end violence against women.
It is dedicated to 14 women who were murdered by an armed gunman during the Montreal Massacre of 1989, at the city’s École Polytechnique engineering school.
“This has always been something I feel very strongly about,” said Moira Dolen, a teacher at LSS who works within Aboriginal education.
Dolen, alongside drama teacher Bill Taylor, were the main instigators to get the campaign started at LSS.
“I’ve worked with the Haven Society for a long time and I had some students here who were also very passionate about ending violence against women,” said Dolen. “So we decided step up and do something.”
The Haven Society has been promoting the safety of women and children in our community for 35 years.
The school has set up a pledge board that reads “I pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women,” and has hundreds of signatures on it.
Taylor and his fellow male teachers, as well as male students, have been reading the pledge out regularly during announcements at the school in the past 10 days.
This past Friday (Dec. 6) marked the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre and Dolen says “it’s the national day of action and remembrance to end violence.”
Keauna Miller, who is in Grade 12, is one of the students who has taken a leading role.
“This year the campaign has gotten bigger at the school,” said Miller, who was one of many showcasing the white ribbon. “We live in a culture of violence and if we don’t acknowledge it, nothing’s going to change. So bringing this campaign to the forefront is so important.
“It’s not something that’s usually talked about in our community so if we can bring this to our students, it’s a conversation they can take home and take out to the community. Then it’ll spread everywhere.”
Expanding the campaign out into the community and beyond is certainly something Miller has high ambitions for.
“For sure it can be expanded throughout the community but also throughout the school district as well. I think that starting in schools and working with the young is so vital,” she said.