Yes, bullying can be beaten - Barry MacDonald

By: Guest Columnist

 | Nov 19, 2012 - 2:01 PM |
The Ministry of Education is recognizing the week of Nov. 18 to 24 as Bullying Prevention Week.

At the Sudbury Catholic District School Board, we recognized this the week of Nov. 11 to 17. As we all celebrate Bully Prevention Week, we cannot help but think of our children who face tremendous pressures just in meeting the demands of the society they live in.

In a recent survey done with the students of the SCDSB, we have found that many of our students suffer from anxiety and a negative self-image.

Throw bullying into an already complex set of issues our teens need to deal with and you have the recipe for a troubled teen.

But it does not have to be.

With caring and understanding adults willing to make a difference, we can stop the cycle of bullying and we can help not only the victim, but also the bully.

Students need to feel safe and nurtured in a learning environment that is committed to addressing bullying and its adverse effects on a students’ ability to learn.

The most effective positive change happens when adults model values and beliefs important to our Catholic school community.

Safe schools teams in every school, made up of educators, staff, parents, students and community members ensure that every voice is at the table.

Catholic values embedded in all aspects of the curriculum convey a strong message of what is important: a shared vision of respect, caring and equality.

We believe that bullying can be prevented. Having informed educators and supports in place will take us one step close to breaking the cycle of bullying.

Everyone has a responsibility and we all need to respond, because time does not heal the hurt of bullying.

Educating students about bullying is essential. It is not a conflict or one-time argument. Bullying is intentional, repeated and hurtful behaviour.

Social and electronic bulling are the new tyrants on the the block. While they leave no physical marks, they can be just as devastating.

Social bullying such as gossiping, bossing, ignoring, using facial expressions such as eye-rolling or embarrassing someone can have detrimental effects.

Cyberbullying can include offensive or threatening emails, texts, phone calls, and messages through social media.
Caring adults are the key.

We are blessed to have them in our school communities and in our parent partnerships.

Prevention does not have to be a program or resource. We can all be a part of it by modeling respectful, caring and supportive behaviour to everyone. Talk to your kids and develop social safety standards for your kids and yourself.

None of us have the answer or a new perfect antidote to the social problem of bullying. We do know that we need to be consistent in the message that bullying should not be a part of growing up and cannot be tolerated.

We cannot predict the future, but with all people valuing diversity and striving for equality, we can certainly help shape it.

For more information on bullying contact your child(ren)’s school, or find the “Bullying - We Can All Help Stop It” on the Ministry of Education website.

Barry MacDonald is the chair of the Sudbury Catholic District School Board. 

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