PENSE, Sask. – Remember what it was like being the one nobody wanted on
a sports team? Not being included in a game at recess? Being ridiculed
for the clothes you wore?
Kim Ehman wants all children to know how painful that is and what they
can do to stop it.
The Craik, Sask., mother of four children aged seven to 14 has
developed a presentation about bullying, shunning and attitudes for
both children and adults.
“I was deeply affected by the Columbine and Taber school shootings,”
Ehman said after recent presentations at Pense Elementary School and
Stewart Nicks School in Grand Coulee.
So, after the April 1999 shootings, she put her skills as an actor to
use to create videos that hit home. The videos feature students from
the Craik school and Ehman’s own children.
She has now spoken to more than 7,000 students and about 700 parents
In Grand Coulee, there were few dry eyes among parents and teachers
after viewing Unknown Wounds. The video is the story of a young boy, an
only child, whose mother turns to alcohol after his father dies. As he
grows older other students ostracize him.
The end is violent and tragic.
Ehman said she wrote the powerful story in one evening. It is meant to
send a message, and it does.
“You don’t know what’s going on inside someone else,” she said.
Looking back, people realize the moments that something should have
been said or done. Ehman said the rate of suicide and attempted suicide
is high among Saskatchewan students.
The video for younger children, Seven Scenes, shows what choices
students can make.
It offers two versions of each scene and how students could handle
situations to include others and show respect.
She told students at Pense Elementary that feelings, both good and bad,
are felt in the heart.
Leaning close to look some of them in the eye, she asked, “Where’d you
get those clothes?”
There was no mistaking her tone, and when asked how they felt and
where, the students answered “bad” and put their hands to their hearts.
“If someone else chooses to wear their hair different or wear something
different, let them choose to be themselves,” Ehman said.
She also told them that no matter how many compliments a person
receives in a day, they will be erased by one insult or put-down.
“These negatives are the things we don’t forget,” she said.
“The negatives stay with you; the positives are gone.”
Ehman’s presentation, entitled Eh Man! Let’s Make a Difference! also
includes a documentary featuring people who were bullies and victims
and who considered suicide at a young age.
Ehman said it’s not all right for people to say kids will be kids.
“It’s not OK if it’s happening to you or your child.”
Many people tell her after watching the videos that they can see
themselves in some of the situations. She said she hopes schools in
particular remember to reinforce the positive and deal with the
“These things are happening to a lot of kids at a very deep level,” she
In September, Ehman received a commemorative medal for the Queen’s
Golden Jubilee, recognizing her contribution to youth.