In the years since he left school, Tad Milmine has become interested in understanding bullies.
What makes them tick and why they do the things they do — as a child or as an adult.
Milmine, who is a Calgary police officer and motivational speaker, says a bully needs two things: a target and an audience.
Milmine, who recently spoke to a Sylvan Lake audience, remembers being bullied in school. He recalls he name calling, being pushed and beaten.
While all this happened, none of the other young people in his class stepped in or said anything to stop it.
“They were doing what they thought was right. They weren’t getting involved because then they would become a target.
“However, I’ve learned now, that they weren’t doing the right thing. They were actually fuelling the bullies by giving them an audience,” he said.
He has also come to realize that he felt entirely alone in his problem with bullying.
Milmine never reported the abuse because he felt no one could relate, that this was only happening to him, and that no one else in the world had ever gone through anything even remotely similar.
“That’s how a lot of kids feel, like this is happening only to them, that no one else could possibly relate.”
Eventually, at the age of 17, and after years of wishing someone would notice something was wrong, Milmine left home and spoke with a social worker.
“I realized I couldn’t expect anyone to help me if I didn’t say anything, if I didn’t ask,” Milmine said.
In 2011 Milmine read a newspaper article about 15-year-old Jamie Hubley, who committed suicide after years of bullying.
Milmine said he was inspired by Hubley’s story and vowed to do something to help others. His group, Bullying Ends Here, was created in 2012. Its website has received more than 10,000 emails, and averages around 700 a month.
“The whole point of the program was to reach out to those struggling in silence and provide them with the ability to connect through the website. To have a friend.”