On Monday, Heritage Minister James Moore announced support for a Red Cross anti-bullying campaign at Ontario’s A.Y. Jackson Secondary School – the former school of 15-year-old Jamie Hubley, whose  story went nationwide after his 2011 suicide amid bullying.

The $250,000 promised by the government will help fund the Red Cross’s Stand Up to Bullying and Discrimination in Canadian Communities project.

2,400 Canadian youths between the ages of 13 and 17 will be trained to give workshops and presentations in their areas on the effects of bullying and cyberbullying. The project also includes three youth-led public forums.

BullyingRed Cross’ Anti-Bullying Campaign Overview

Not much detail has been provided on how the training will be conducted and the workshop itinerary as it is much to early.  $250,000 isn’t much but with the help of the Red Cross, I’m certain a solid plan will be initiated.

Bullying is at its peak right now, but realistically it’s never been easier to target a bully or a person bullied than it is today.  With social media, brands are able to scope out there target market and promote their product/service via social media circles worldwide.  Brands have dedicated staff to sit behind a screen and monitor the effects of their online campaigns and engage with their market.

Schools have this same ability if only they would invest the resources required to keep an eye on their students online and off.   When someone ‘subtweets’ a negative about another person, there’s nothing wrong for the school to inquire whether it’s a concern.  When a student proclaims to the world ‘Why is it always me that they pick on?’, there’s nothing wrong for the school to address this as well.  It’s keeping everyone honest.

Honestly?  If these workshops and presentations are geared to prevent bullying, I don’t think it’s worth the investment.  Bullies won’t take the time to listen and the bullied is preoccupied in their own woes to take a stand.

My Thoughts on an Anti-Bullying Campaign

I presented a anti-bullying proposal to the local School board many years ago.  First of all, I was shut down because I wrote the Board of Trustees with my idea.  Secondly, my whole bullying experience and anti-bullying suggestion was disregarded with the excuse “Young minds who’s brains are not fully developed”.   According to my family’s pediatrician, the common sense portion of the brain only starts developing at seventeen.  Therefore, while the School Board Director provided a true statement to me, morals and kindness starts at birth.

Maybe I’m a misfit parent that watches my kid’s social media activities like a hawk.  If I see something written that may insult, I flip out until they have apologized and deleted it.   If I see something written that concerns me about their mental health, I sit down with them and ask them to explain.  When online bullying is happening, I dig until I find the trail and the source.  As tiresome as they think I am, I do not believe in bullying, snide remarks, or these dreadful “subtweets”.  Children (and sometimes adults) are 10 feet tall behind a computer screen and we need to teach them the ability of facing their problems head on and face-to-face.

Of course, being in social media, I know how to do this.  When I relay the message about tweeting to my local friends, 90% of the parents have no clue what I’m talking about.  Hence, this is why most of our youths have moved to Twitter rather than Facebook.  It’s a much safer place to post subliminal (subtweets) messages to someone because the conversation is hard to follow, post #WhiteGirlWasted photos of the night before, and converse with peers without your parent’s prying eyes.

Bullying Happens in Many Forms

I really dislike when a person classifies bullying when an issue is brought up by saying “THAT isn’t bullying and a person who was bullied would take offense the reference.”

The best new age definition I could find about bullying is at the CPHA Website:

“Someone who bullies wants to hurt the other person (it’s not an accident). Someone who bullies does or says the same things over and over again. Bullying is about using power over another person. There are four main kinds of bullying:”

Different types of bullying

Kinds of Bullying
  • hitting, shoving, kicking, spitting on, beating up on others, dating aggression
  • damaging or stealing another person’s property
  • name-calling, mocking, hurtful teasing
  • humiliating or threatening someone
  • making people do things they don’t want to do
  • excluding others from the group
  • spreading gossip or rumours about others
  • making others look foolish
  • making sure others do not spend time with a certain person
Electronic: using computer, e-mail, phone or cellular phone text messages to:
  • threaten or hurt someone’s feelings
  • single out, embarrass or make someone look bad
  • spread rumours or reveal secrets about someone

A Target is a Target Until They Stand Tall

Believe me, I understand this statement more than anyone.  I have dealt with the issue of a family member being a target for over 18 years.

This person has been:

  • called Elton John because of her fashion choices 
  • called an attention whore because of being too emotional
  • called a psycho (that one is explainable and unforgivable)
  • nominated for being the most likely to be on a reality show (Dr. Phil)
  • denied a pleasurable right of passage as they graduate from high school
  • made fun of and ridiculed in her junior years for her teeth to head ratio.
  • completely misunderstood in most cases (not all).

I’ve tried the ‘You’ve got to stand up for yourself” approach over and over again.  I have dealt with missed school days, failed classes, and recently received a recording that depicts my family member as a psycho, liar, and thief in a classroom setting where for one minute and forty-four seconds no one shut the conversation down.  No wonder people in school have preconceived notions about this person.  

It is so hurtful for the target and their family to hear these slurs coming from young minds.  If it was myself in my teen years, I know that these girls would have been flat on their backs.  We had no choice, we had to face our fears directly and no computer to resort to. However, I was never a target and I don’t know what it’s like to bury myself in a hole every time someone targets me, but I can relate to the fear and anguish felt by targeted victims like Amanda Todd and other suicide victims.

Suffice to say, I have spent many nights crying myself to sleep and there will be a HUGE celebration as she moves from high school to adulthood.

Take Action Against Bullying

While the support for the Red Cross is a wonderful gesture, I think it’s going to take a lot more funding to truly educate kids, parents, and teachers on how to deal with bullying and cyberbullying.


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