HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Kelvin One Cool School
Pubdate: Thu, 07 Mar 2002
Source: Winnipeg Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2002 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Connie Tamoto


Treats Pot Protest As 'Teachable Moment'

It was a lesson in freedom of speech.

When two members of the Manitoba Cannabis Party members protested outside 
Kelvin high school yesterday in support of nine students charged with drug 
trafficking last year, school officials didn't try to keep kids away from it.

Instead, Kelvin principal Glen Eliasson used the protest as "a teachable 
moment" in freedom of speech.

"We wanted the kids to know in a democratic society this is a freedom," 
said Eliasson. "They have a right to be out there doing what they are 
doing. It's good when high school kids can see that people have different 

The Cannabis party members tried to hand leaflets to students as they left 
school at noon and after classes. But few of the 1,350 kids at the school 
seemed to be interested.

Most declined to take one of the pamphlets, which compared last year's drug 
bust to the Salem witchhunt.

Eliasson said teachers were urged to use the second period of classes to 
speak to students about freedom of speech and public protests.

"We wanted the kids to respect these people, because they have a right to 
be there," said Eliasson.

Student Justin White, who did accept a pamphlet, said Eliasson's approach 
to the protest was positive.

"I'm glad that he said what he said, instead of 'Don't go out there,'" said 
the Grade 11 student.

When asked if he would vote for the Manitoba Cannabis party in the future, 
White said yes.

"They're the only party that made a point to talk to us," said White. "I 
haven't seen the Liberals or anyone else here speaking to us."

The school's parent council was informed of the protest, said Eliasson 
adding the school did not receive any calls from angry or concerned parents.
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