Tired of violence: Options Alternative High School flips it out

Montreal, May 31, 2024 – On Friday, May 31, students at Options Alternative High School   in Ville Émard concluded the academic year by metaphorically flipping violence out of Montreal by completing their challenge of flipping two tractor tires the distance between their school and the mid-way point of the Champlain Bridge. 

Social worker Julien Bérube and Options' Jason Gannon with students.

Annually, Project Development Officer Jason Gannon looks for unique ways to inspire his students. This year, he acquired two huge tractor tires weighing 550 lbs each and from May 1  to 31,  nearly 40 students, each in pairs, committed to flip the tires a total of 5,000 times.

“This idea was borne out of two students in conflict. The expected response would have been traditional disciplinary action, but the staff, led by head teacher James Bray, decided to try something new,” said Mr. Gannon. “The students chose a teacher advocate and came together in a restorative circle. This action, is an eight-week training program on non-violent communication where an unexpected outcome was a common realization that teachers and students all have common goals. We want to be successful; we want to be heard and we want to share our message strength through non-violence.”

Students trained for a month in order to complete this assignment.

To complete this challenge, over the course of 90 minutes, pairs of students  rotated to flip the tires on the school’s basketball court until the final 1,500 meters are covered. 

Male and female students participated.

“This tool all of us. Just as ridding violence from our schools takes all of us,” added Mr. Gannon. "The big message is to flip violence out of our school, community and city.”

About the English Montreal School Board

With a youth and adult sector population of more than 35,000 students, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is the largest English public school board in Quebec. Established on July 1, 1998, when the province created new boards along linguistic lines, the EMSB network consists of 73 schools and centres. For more details, visit the EMSB website at www.emsb.qc.ca.

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