I know that first hand, having been bullied while attending school.
For me, bullying never really impacted me a lot until I was in Grade seven and eight, at Hants East Rural High School. That’s when my life changed, and I became scared of going into the school, but I did so as I knew I had to persevere to get an education. I also had good friends, who could tell I was being bullied and they would stand up for me.
Even now, I find it a little uncomfortable walking in the school when I go there to cover events, clubs, and organizations. Other schools I have no problem going to.
So with news during the last two weeks of three young teenagers, in Sackville, Dartmouth, and Parrsboro, having committed suicide reportedly because of being harassed online and offline, it brings back a lot of memories to me – memories I would rather have stayed away.
The father of Courtney Brown confirmed to Halifax media his daughter took her life following months of bullying. Brown, 17, was to graduate in June from Parrsboro Regional High School.
Halifax District RCMP are investigating a possible link between posts made on social networking site Formspring and the death of a Sackville Heights Junior High Student.
Discussion has been forthcoming on the topic as parents, such as Pam Murchison talk to the media, telling the story of her 15-year-old daughter Jenna Bowers-Bryanton, who took her life in January. Why? Because of online bullying.
It’s unfortunate that all these teenagers felt that taking their lives was the only way to solve the problem. It’s unfortunate on so many levels.
It means they didn’t feel they could speak out, to their teacher (and if they did, not much was done), friends, their parents, and most importantly couldn’t muster the confidence to call Kids Help Line.
Are the schools doing enough? They say they are, but it seems they could be doing more by sending a message. Instead, when those being bullied, as in the case of an Australian boy who while being bullied took it upon himself and didn’t take it anymore, both boys were suspended from school. The video went viral on YouTube and shows the bully being body-slammed by his victim. That doesn’t seem to be right that they both got the same punishment.
Another startling fact is that Canada is ranked ninth in the world as it relates to the percentage of children who were victimized two or more times in previous months. It shows that 15.1 per cent of boys are bullied, while 17.8 per cent of girls are bullied. The result is part of a PREVNET look at bullying. The survey was done in 2004.
When I went to school (I graduated in 1999), the form of bullying was mostly all done in a person’s face or behind one’s back.
Nowadays, with technology, we have text bullying and cyber bullying through websites like facebook, MySpace, and Formspring, to name a few.
Bullying is such an issue there is a national anti-bullying campaign, started when two Nova Scotians stood up for a classmate.
With such a dark cloud on the issue, it’s like a breathe of fresh air to see some of the younger generation willing to do their part to fight bullying, like Makayla Lynn does in her debut music video “The Joke’s On You.” It has a message to those being bullied bad bullies that everyone is alike.
In East Hants, Enfield RCMP Const. Cheryl Ponee is the school liaison officer. She has put together an anti-bullying program that has started being implemented in the lower grade school system in Dec. 2010. The hope is that by the time the students get to junior and senior high it will have helped curb, and possibly eliminate, any bullying.
My message is simple. If you’re approached by a friend who tells you they’re being bullied, or know of one who is being teased and picked on, don’t turn the left cheek. Lend them your ear and make the appropriate authorities know. By lending your ear and helping hand, you may prevent another headline reading: “Teen takes life due to bullying.”