Ministry of Education, Office of the Premier, Education Sector, Families Sector, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Region, Kootenay Rockies Region, Northern B.C. Region, Provincewide, Thompson / Okanagan Region, Vancouver Coast & Mountains Region, Vancouver Island / Coast Region

Culture change needed to erase bullying

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Education, Families Tuesday, November 13, 2012 3:53 PM


VANCOUVER - More than 130 students, anti-bullying experts, and key stakeholders came together at Premier Christy Clark's ERASE Bullying Summit to identify key priorities and actions that will help school, communities and individuals work together to combat bullying.

"The summit brought together a wide range of participants who were in agreement: stopping bullying requires a culture change in our schools, homes and communities," said Premier Clark. "Community agencies, parents, educators, and students all need to play a role. The commitment coming out of today's meeting is to build on our momentum and work together to build a culture of kindness, caring and respect where no child has to wake up in the morning and go to school worrying about what will happen to them that day."

At the ERASE (Expect Respect and A Safe Education) Bullying Summit participants shared their views on how to best deal with bullying and bring about the changes needed to create safe inclusive schools and communities. The audience also heard compelling personal stories from students about the impact bullying has had on their lives.

Summit participants also discussed cyberbullying - the newest form of bullying, and how the anonymity of technology has given bullies new weapons like text messaging, chat rooms, and social media outlets to intimidate people.

"Bullying shouldn't be a rite of passage for young people," said Premier Clark. "We need to make sure that those who target others, whether in a school hallway or in cyberspace, understand the real world consequences of their actions and become leaders for changing school culture."

Education Minister Don McRae provided an update on the province's 10-point ERASE Bullying Strategy, which included today's launch of the new ERASEBullying.ca web portal and the new ReportBullyingBC.ca online reporting tool. ERASE Bullying Online Reporting ToolThe new website provides vital information, links and tips for parents and students while the new online reporting tool provides students a secure and anonymous way to report instances of bullying, threats and other safety concerns.

"The reporting tool makes it easier for students to take a stand and report bullying," said McRae. "We were pleased to unveil the tool today at the summit and we received some good feedback and suggestions. More importantly, the participants will help spread the word among students that they can easily and anonymously report incidents or threats from a smartphone or computer when and where they feel safe to do so."

Contact:

Mike Morton
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
250 588-8380

Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education
250 356-5963

BACKGROUNDER

Further actions identified at the summit

  • A student outreach campaign will be needed to raise awareness of the online reporting tool including direct feedback from students on how they can encourage responsible and effective use of the tool.
  • Create an online forum where students can share among themselves the strategies and steps they are taking in their schools to address bullying and promote safe connected schools.
  • The legal framework to combat cyberbullying should be reviewed, but laws are no substitute for concerted and sustained efforts to raise awareness among students about appropriate online behaviour.
  • School codes of conduct should consider specific references to appropriate online behaviour.
  • Need to ensure sexual harassment/exploitation is also addressed as part of responsible online behaviour.
  • The training needs to be extended to more community partners and there is a need to raise awareness among a wider range of community organizations, such as sports leagues and youth activity organizations, on the role they can play to combat bullying.
  • Need to better involve aboriginal, ethnic communities, LGBTQ organizations and support agencies in shaping and delivering anti-bullying strategies; strategies need to be adapted to specific community needs.
  • We need to take the provincial conversation to the local level through meetings and conferences to build stronger working relationships, develop formal community protocols, review trends and community concerns, and refine local intervention and prevention strategies.
  • We also need to continue to raise the issue of cyberbullying at the national level. To that end, an ad hoc working group led by B.C.'s deputy attorney general and including deputy attorney generals from across Canada is exploring whether there are gaps in the criminal code that could be addressed to assist police when dealing with the rapidly changing online world and social media.
  • Students are experts at technology, but they often lack the emotional and life experience to understand the consequences of what they say and do online. Parents have the life experience, but lack the technological knowledge of their kids. It is important that they meet in the middle to create a better culture of understanding and support for everyone.
  • Need to find ways to better connect what's happening in schools and bring it into the home. Parents need to be more aware, engaged and active to make sure they are part of the solution.
  • Need to develop and provide additional leadership opportunities, skills and training for students to better respond to bullying - whether they are the target or bystander.

Log on to the new erase bullying portal at www.Erasebullying.ca

The new anonymous reporting tool for students is also now active at https://reportbullyingbc.edudata.ca/apps/bullying/

Under B.C.'s Family Agenda, prevention of bullying in schools, on our playgrounds, and online, is a key government priority. Bullying is not acceptable. To learn more about programs to protect vulnerable children, visit www.familiesfirstbc.ca

Contacts:

Mike Morton
Office of the Premier
250 588-8380

Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education
250 356-5963


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