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COMMENTARY · 15th November 2012
Walter McFarlane
There has been a lot of talk about bullying recently. The death of Amanda Todd brought this issue to the forefront in October and it has led to the creation of many different ideas and it is getting a lot of people talking about ways to end bullying.

There has been a website called Erase Bullying as well as a Facebook group dedicated to putting an end to bullying.

However, I am very cynical that any of this will go to solving the problem. The creation of an information website is but a single step. However, an anonymous report system can be abused.

As a child, I was bullied for a number of reasons. At the time, bullying was accepted. Your peers could label you with every name in the book and get away with it. If you got angry and frustrated enough to attack back, you were the one who got in trouble.

Speaking from my own experience, a child who is being bullied needs to talk with a responsible adult about what is going on. Unfortunately, not all teachers, principals or supervisors are responsible… not to mention they do not have the clairvoyance to know what is going on around them at all times.

There are many solutions which are given for bullying. Walking away does not work if you have a limited field in which to escape. Confrontation is risky as the bully has learned to play the role of the victim as well.

Anonymous reporting can be abused and if a student has a problem approaching a teacher about what is going on, why would they approach an adult they do not know at all. When I was a child, the Kids Help Phone, 1-800-668-6868, did exist and it was well advertised.

I think there are two ways to bring an end to bullying. The first involves the creation of role models in society. Mentors for children chosen from among parents, RCMP and community leaders. The second, unfortunately, involves sacrifice.

The thing which I think needs to be sacrificed is disagreeing in a hurtful manner. Yes, we can disagree and discuss the reasons we disagree with each other. Yes we can disagree and offend each other with our opinions in the process.

However, the line which needs to be drawn is the line where disagreement turns hurtful. Where the discussion stops being civil. Places where the person and/or their ideas are called stupid, hypocritical or any other name in the book. I hear it a lot at the meetings and events I go to.

It is why I have given up on the idea of seeing bullying come to an end. While I do want to see it come to an end, I feel that most people are leaping into the cause to fuel their own agendas. I would not be surprised if a few of them were using the memory of a dead girl to build their own fame. After all, as reported by CBC News here, Amanda Todd’s mother, Carol Todd, was not even permitted to attend an anti-bullying forum which was held as a response to her daughter’s death.

Visit the Erase Bullying Site at the following link:

Visit Be Bold, Stop Bullying Canada on Facebook at the following link:
Comment by Bob Drake on 16th November 2012
Has been around as long as there have been humans and as sad as it is, it is part of human evolutionary development. There will always be someone bigger and stronger than you. Bullying and class struggles have always been there and probably always will be-anyone who has read Tom Browns Schooldays will remember Flashman and his ilk, the big difference these days is its braodcast over the internet and SM in a hearbeat and the effect is multiplied. I was bullied mercilessly as a young, skinny Engish accented immigrant to Northern BC but luckily found a few good friends and learned to cope. Social media also provides a stage for the young Amandas of the world to show and share their grief publicly, which, I think, will show in time to make bullying less acceptable but also, in a perverse way, more popular amongst a certain mindset. The 600lb elephant in the room is that there is a certain amount of "poor me, feel sorry for me" posturing going on with social media which may even make suicide even more popular. Going out in a digital blaze of glory if you will may have a cetain appeal to young, immature teens.
Comment by Aaron on 15th November 2012
A lot of it also from what I have seen/researched is the bully-victims. These individuals are bully's and will target people however in different parts of their lives they are being bullied by someone older or one of their family members. This is true for at least 75% of bully's. We have to see where this original bullying is coming from and put a stop to that.