St. Clare Catholic School students got an important lesson from MP Justin Trudeau on Nov. 1 as they kicked off their anti-bullying month.
Trudeau talked to the students about his own experiences with bullying, growing up in Ottawa and gave advice on how to deal with bullies.
He told students that sometimes people pick on one another to make themselves feel better.
“You all know someone who’s maybe a little small, or not as good at sports,” he said. “It’s important not to push someone down, but help them stand up.”
Trudeau said that growing up in Ottawa as the son of a prime minister meant he wasn’t always treated the same as other children while attending Rockcliffe Public School.
Some of the students had parents who didn’t agree with the senior Trudeau’s politics, and the students would take it out on the school-aged Trudeau.
“When I was your age, my dad was the prime minister of Canada,” he said. “We lived in a big house down the street.”
Students were impressed to hear that his childhood house at 24 Sussex Dr. had 13 bathrooms.
“But that didn’t make me any better than any of my friends,” he said.
Trudeau said he felt comfortable in front of the students, as he worked as a teacher before entering politics.
“Now I work in a job that has some people be mean to me,” he told the students.
He also said that he had to be careful to talk with his son, Xavier, 5, because he is bigger than most of the other kids his age.
He faced some tough questions from the junior kindergarten to Grade 6 students. They asked about him being picked on, if his children ever got picked on, and if he was ever a bully himself.
“But what do you do if you want to stop being friends with someone because they’re a bully?” one student asked.
He recieved another hard question from a student who wanted to know what the worst case of bullying he’d ever heard.
He told the students very briefly about British Columbia teenager Amanda Todd, who died from suicide recently after intense bullying.
Trudeau told the students that she was bullied so much, she killed herself.
“She got teased so much that she did something absolutely terrible,” he said.
The school will be running anti-bullying activities throughout November, including cards that students can fill out to report bullying or acts of kindness.
“For us to be happy, it’s not what we get from the world,” Trudeau said. “It’s how you look at being nice and kind and just to each other.”