A brightly coloured anti-bullying, friendship bench has been donated by 51 Division in honour of Chief Bill Blair to the student of Lord Dufferin Junior and Senior School.
In the bench dedication ceremony, on Thursday, Dec. 11, Vice Principal Sandra Li asked the students if they knew who School Resource Officers, Melissa Huntley and Edward Parks were – they kids yelled back an enthusiastic yes.
They spoke about the Friendship Bench, a program that creates a safe space for children where they can sit with their friends when they are feeling happy as well as use the bench when they are feeling down and need someone to reach out to them.
51 Division dedicated this particular bench to Chief Bill Blair, who was in attendance along with Superintendent Elizabeth Byrnes and other officers from 51 Division.
The Chief told the students that Lord Dufferin Junior & Senior Public School had a special place in his heart since his mother attended the school. He then said when he was a constable working in Regent Park he would come in to the school every shift to see the kids.
While the students had many questions for the Chief, the one that got asked the most was why he had to retire. The Chief told the junior school students it was because he wanted to give someone else a turn to be Chief.
A young girl then asked Chief Blair to make Constable Melissa the next chief, since she had never seen a girl chief before. The Chief told the young crowd that the best thing about TPS was that anyone could be chief.
Chief Blair decided to take a vote to see who the students thought should be the next Chief – Constable Edward or Constable Melissa.
The young students diplomatically said it would be a tie.