ONSLOW – They have seen anti-bullying presentations before, but for some Central Colchester Junior High students Tad Milmine’s was the most personal.
© RAISSA TETANISH - TRURO DAILY NEWS
Tad Milmine, left, talks with Central Colchester Junior High School students Marrina Lockhart and Mitchell Redmond following his presentation on his ‘Bullying Ends Here’ campaign. The RCMP officer from British Columbia told junior and high school students throughout the county this week about his experiences with bullying, and the story of an Ontario teen. He’s hosting a free community session on Sunday. Raissa Tetanish – Truro Daily News
“A lot of presentations are about what bullying is, but this one was more actual stories of experience,” said Mitchell Redmond, a Grade 9 student who yesterday heard about how Milmine was bullied both at home and at school before he had the courage to find help. “The story he told about Jamie was really personal.”
The students, ranging from grades seven through nine, discovered how Milmine survived living with “the devil” before he spoke about 15-year-old Jamie Hubley from Ontario, who took his own life.
“I found it very surprising,” said Grade 7 student Marrina Lockhart. “That the devil would keep him down in the basement and that his dad didn’t do anything to stop it. His dad should have helped, but instead he pretended nothing was wrong.”
Lockhart was reacting to Milmine only calling his stepmother by ‘the devil.’ His parents divorced when he was five years old, and his dad soon found a new partner. Milmine didn’t use any names, as he didn’t want to bring any negativity to them.
Milmine, an RCMP officer living in Surrey, B.C., told the students he remembers three things about the age of five – a dream of being a police officer, his parents getting a divorce and his dad being an alcoholic, and growing into a “terribly shy little boy.”
“Shortly after my parents’ divorce, my dad met the new woman of his dreams who I’ll call the devil because that’s what she was to me. She moved in and she had a lot of rules, but the day she moved in, she locked me in the basement,” Milmine told the students.
He continued to tell them about always crying when something got to him – such as his stepmother’s name calling and putting him down.
“My classmates figured out I cried a lot and the way to get me to cry was to say a few bad names – those same names I was called at home – and I would put on a show,” he said.
One day, his father visited Milmine down in the basement and continued to tell his son to “ignore” the stepmother’s screaming. He then reached into his pocket, pulled out $10 and gave it to his son, telling him to leave and come back in a few hours when everything was “back to normal.”
“I walked out the side door and I have never again gone back to the house,” he said. “I’ve never seen my real dad again, or the devil. I just kept walking.”
When Milmine, now 39, applied to the RCMP at the age of 32, it was the first step to making his dream a reality.
Now, he visits schools across the country to bring his story, and Jamie’s to light.
“He was a skinny little white boy with fluffy hair who always had a smile on his face,” Milmine said before he began telling Jamie’s story of bullying to the point where classmates shoved a handful of batteries down his throat while on the bus.
“He doesn’t tell anybody and every day for the next three weeks, it was the same thing.”
Ashton Wood, a Grade 8 student, said she enjoyed listening to Milmine and said it’s important not to be a bystander.
“He said victims don’t speak and it’s very important to look for those that might be hurting,” she said, adding a friend of hers was suicidal. “Nobody thought she would be, so we need to keep looking for that.”
Milmine brought his presentation to junior high and high school students throughout the county and he’s hosting a free community session on Sunday. The event begins at 2 p.m. at the Cobequid Educational Centre’s AV room.
For more on Milmine and his ‘Bullying Ends Here’ campaign, visit www.bullyingendshere.ca.