It’s unfortunate that the writer of a letter in the Nov. 7 edition of the Independent felt that they needed to move to another province in order to avoid bullying in local schools.
Bullying is harmful and wrong and no one deserves to be bullied at any time. However, it’s a mistake to assume that bullying is just a school issue. Bullying is a community and relationship issue that involves everyone.
We should not blame others for what they are doing or not doing about bullying, but instead look at what we are doing as individuals and as a community.
Bullying is usually defined as an intentional, repetitive activity marked by an imbalance of power and intent to harm. Bullying can take different forms, including verbal, physical, social and cyber.
Research has shown that most bullying occurs in the presence of other people and those people are often reluctant to intervene. Yet, if bystanders do intervene, the bullying can be stopped in 10 seconds. For younger children, intervening might involve talking to a trusted adult, such as a parent, teacher or RCMP member.
HEaRT, a mental health capacity-building project, arranged for Austen Radowits, a young man from Drayton Valley, to visit Stettler on Monday as part of bullying awareness week and to speak to local schools about his experiences with bullying and how to overcome it.
Our goal is to prompt a discussion in the community about the subject of bullying. I would encourage parents to sit down with their children and talk with them about bullying.
This Friday is Wear Blue Day. Blue is the colour of the United Nations peacekeepers and we encourage everyone to wear blue on this day as a symbol of peace.
If you are concerned about bullying or would like more information about it, call me at 741-8900. There are many excellent resources available.
HEaRT Project co-ordinator