In preparation for Anti-Bullying Day, Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid is encouraging students and parents to take action to prevent bullying.
"Anti-Bullying Day recognizes and supports efforts to end bullying, harassment and intimidation across British Columbia," said MacDiarmid. "It celebrates the actions of individuals, schools and communities who are working to make our province a safer and more inclusive place to live, work and play."
The Province has declared Wednesday, April 14, 2010, as Anti-Bullying Day in recognition of efforts to build communities that foster respect, fairness, equity and compassion. There are a number of actions students, parents, and educators can take to stop bullying before it happens, as well as warning signs that it is taking place.
* Understand what bullying behaviour is and then share this with others, like your parents, friends and teachers. Resources for students are available through the Kids Help Phone 1-800 668-6868 or online at www.RedCross.ca/StandUp
* Recognize you have the right to be treated with respect and feel safe in your environment. If this is not happening, talk to someone.
* Refuse to go along with bullying or harassment - youth who laugh or cheer only encourage the behaviour.
* Gather your friends to help speak out against bullying and harassment.
* Watch out for those being bullied, and tell a teacher or trusted adult if you see bullying happening.
* Resources for parents to understand bullying behaviour are available at http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/sco/resources.htm
. This includes 'Keeping Kids Safe', a guide for parents in grades K-12 and 'Call It Safe' guides for parents of both elementary and secondary school students, as well as 'Internet Safety Tips for Parents'. All guides are available in multiple languages.
* Learn about cyber-safety with your children and explore online safety at www.learnnowbc.ca/lnbcresources/cybersafe/
* Get to know your children's friends and be involved in your school community.
* Discuss with your child or teenager examples of bullying he or she notices on television, in video games or in the neighbourhood. Help your child understand the consequences of bullying.
* Model appropriate behaviour by showing empathy for others, managing angry feelings and accepting differences.
* Watch your child for signs of changed behaviour, such as dropped grades, sleeplessness, anxiety, loss of appetite, angry outbursts or being sick in the morning.
* Notice if your child talks about dropping out of school for vague reasons, skips school, is unwilling or afraid to leave the house, or wants to change their route to school.
* Be aware if your child comes home with torn clothes, unexplained bruises, new clothes or other items, or money not accounted for.
April 14 is also Pink Shirt Day in British Columbia. Pink Shirt Day grew from the actions of two high-school boys in Nova Scotia who passed out pink shirts to show support for a student who was being bullied. Anti-bullying days are now celebrated in Canada from coast to coast to coast.
"I encourage all British Columbians to wear something pink on April 14 to show their commitment to end bullying," said MacDiarmid. "I would like to thank the students and teachers who are actively leading activities in their classrooms to stop bullying in our schools."
In 2007, the Province passed legislation requiring boards of education to have codes of conduct for appropriate behaviour in all schools. In 2008-09, all school districts reported that they had codes of conduct in place.
For more information, visit the Ministry of Education's Safe, Caring and Orderly Schools website, www.bced.gov.bc.ca/sco