EDUCATION–Students Working to Fight Cyberbullying
Some creative students from Mahone Bay are working with the province on a campaign to help stop cyberbullying by reminding all students to treat each other as people not profiles.
Education Minister Ramona Jennex was joined by Lunenburg MLA Pam Birdsall and school officials today, Oct. 23, at Bayview Community School to announce the successful group of Evan Hennigar, Grace Adams, Maggie Baxter and Connor Zinck.
Their entry in the cyberbullying campaign encourages students to look beyond someone’s online identity and get to know them as a person.
“The words you type hurt as much as the words you say,” said Evan, a Grade 6 student. “If people only took a second to think about the person sitting at home reading that negative comment, and that it’s a person, not just a profile, maybe they would not write it and avoid hurting someone.”
The students will work with a marketing group to develop a public awareness campaign with their idea that begins later this fall.
“Students tell me how bullying behaviours can make them feel vulnerable and alone; this is simply unacceptable,” said Ms. Jennex. “Youth know what bullying looks like and how it affects them, in the schoolyard or online. And they have good ideas on how to stop it too.”
Bullying has grown from students teasing each other on the playground to targeting someone with an unrelenting stream of intimidating messages and actions through cyberbullying. The province is taking steps to help keep young people safe in their schools, communities and cyberspace but bullying is a societal problem that extends beyond the school grounds. To make schools safer, more respectful places, the whole community needs to get involved.
“We are very proud of students like Evan who have taken the time to come up with creative ideas to help deal with cyberbullying,” said Nancy Pynch-Worthylake, superintendent, South Shore Regional School Board. “It is very important that more and more or us become part of the solution.”
Kids and Learning First, the province’s plan to help every child succeed, commits to fight cyberbullying with families, communities and students. The efforts include legislative changes to ensure people’s responsibilities to report cyberbullying activity are clear.