Bullying has become a hot topic of discussion across the country and Neelin High School has been gearing up to do its part to spread awareness about this issue.
Bullying Awareness Week kicks off today and runs until Nov. 17, and all schools across the country are encouraged to participate. The overall goal of the week is "prevention through education and awareness," as it has been since the initiative was started in 2003 by B.C. teacher Bill Belsey.
The week is promoting the idea that everyone should be involved in preventing the problem of bullying. The focus of the campaign is on schools where the most impact can be made through education, which starts in the early years programs and continues all the way through high school.
This education includes the outlining of the different roles included in a bullying scenario: the bully, the victim and the bystander.
A lot of emphasis on the role of the bystander is drilled into us from an early age, focusing on the potential of a bystander to either enable the bully by not doing anything or preventing the bullying by standing up for the victim.
Also provided are resources that can potentially be of help, both within the school, such as the guidance counsellor, and outside school, including organizations like Kid’s Help Phone. As well, since new forms of bullying have come into existence with the electronic age and new social media, this has prompted new education and organizations to combat cyber bullying and the ever-increasing effects that it has on the youth of today.
Though the focus of anti-bullying campaigns is in the schools and geared toward students, bullying is not limited solely to kids and can be prevalent in the workplace, a fact that should not be overlooked in the awareness of the issue.
According to a poll by the Canada Safety Council, one in six employees has experienced bullying, and in many provinces, the governments are making bullying in the workplace illegal.
This reality makes education in schools, to instil a good attitude at a young age, even more important.
Bullying is the root of all other forms of harassment, where one group of people believes they are in some way better than another and use this to exert power over them. This extends to such dangerous areas as racism, sexism and homophobia, which are a great problem in our society.
Neelin’s student council will be putting on events this week to promote Bullying Awareness Week within our school.
These events include Mingle Monday, contests and games throughout the week centring on facts about bullying and its effects, as well as activities aimed at including everyone in the school.
As a high school student, bullying awareness has been part of my life and education growing up and I find these kinds of campaigns are important to continually stress the issue within the community.
» Annie Munroe is a Grade 12 student at Neelin High School.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 12, 2012