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Am I in Trouble? question hard to hear as answer is usually, “yes”


Consequences of poor decisions can follow you for the rest of your life.

That’s the lesson learned today by hundreds of students at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute – and one that will be presented tonight, to parents, guardians and members of the community.

The PEC OPP, along with local support agencies, presented “Am I In Trouble?”, a series of vignettes about consequences of poor decisions involving abusive relationships, sexual assault, bullying, harassment, sexting and use of technology. Decisions, often made in seconds, that can affect a victim and a perpetrator’s life immediately and in the shadows for many years following.

Under the direction of teacher Matthew Sheahan, drama students created emotionally-charged scenes presented in tableau style to allow contributions and explanations of the law, charges, offences and penalties from their co-stars, PEC OPP officers Anthony Mann, Sean Guscott and Matt Caissie, along with Assistant Crown Attorney Paul Layefsky.

“That is the most difficult questions I get asked in my office,” said Rob Furmidge, PECI’s child and youth counsellor. “That question is full of pain, it’s full of fear, anguish and it’s a terrible question to hear because the answer, is usually, ‘yes’.”

Furmidge explained that part of his job in guidance is to help students navigate the problem, and sometimes, the parents as well. We can’t do that all by ourselves. We rely on outside agencies, or community supports, as we call them, and we are really lucky today to have the them here to talk.”

Short presentations were made by Rachael Fraser and Kat Anastasiou from QHC’s Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Response Program; Rahno Boutilier, executive director of Alternatives for Women; Stella Weese, of Victim Services, and Kerry Cole, of Community Organized Support and Prevention for youth in conflict.

PECI Principal Darren McFarlane told the audience that sharing the learning from the presentation could result in changing reactions, and outcomes, of serious issues.

“This is not to say we have a problem with these issues at PECI but these are serious issues in our society, our province and world and we are not immune in Prince Edward County, or Prince Edward Collegiate.”

Officer Matt Caissie explains how domestic assault changes how people view relationships for the rest of their lives.

Officer Matt Caissie explains the physical and emotional harm of domestic assault changes how people view relationships for the rest of their lives.

“Working with the students was amazing,” said officer Anthony Mann noting that being part of what the students were bringing to the stage was a terrific way to share important messages.

“We need to make sure we are doing everything we can to be aware of these behaviours and their consequences.”

Assistant Crown Attorney Paul Layefsky gave the audience a rousing example of “What Difference Can I Make?” by starting with one student repeating the question and adding student voices row upon row until the auditorium rang out with the rallying cry from the audience.

“Each and every one of us in this room, that includes myself, our special guests, you, your teachers, knows somebody who has – we have a friend, an acquaintance, we have someone who we can make a difference for, and for us, sharing our learning was important so that you can make a difference for that person going forward. We don’t want you to leave today, scared. We want you leaving here today powerful because knowledge is power. That’s what today is about. Equipping you with what you need to make a difference.”

The public is invited to attend tonight’s presentation at 7pm.


Filed Under: Arts & CultureFeatured ArticlesHastings & Prince Edward District School BoardPECI - It's a Panther Thing

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