THE story of bullied Argyle graduate Robin Tomlin's effort to win an apology from his former school - and the response that story has generated - has illustrated in dramatic terms how widespread bullying is, how long lasting its effects can be, and how much more we need to do to address it.
It's been 42 years since Tomlin opened his Grade 12 annual to find the word "fag" printed next to his photo. The label, which he had been called so many times in the school's hallways, still hurts him to this day.
The fact that an experience from so long ago could still sting so badly may be surprising to some, but to many others, it's all too easy to believe.
In the wake of the story, the media have been flooded with messages from the public, the vast majority expressing support, and many detailing similar experiences.
The outpouring showed in stark terms how many people have been tormented at school, and how many still feel the wounds well into adulthood.
Schools, including North Van's, have taken huge strides toward addressing the issue, but they can't do it by themselves. The fight to overcome this phenomenon must be taken up by everyone involved in a child's care - especially those who can help shape attitudes at an early age.
Programs exist that do this, but they deserve more support both from the public and from the state.
The cost of losing the fight, as we have seen, is steep indeed.