VANCOUVER – More than 130 students, anti-bullying experts, and key stakeholders came together at Premier Christy Clark’s ERASE Bullying Summit to identify key priorities and actions that will help school, communities and individuals work together to combat bullying.
“The summit brought together a wide range of participants who were in agreement: stopping bullying requires a culture change in our schools, homes and communities,” said Premier Clark. “Community agencies, parents, educators, and students all need to play a role. The commitment coming out of today’s meeting is to build on our momentum and work together to build a culture of kindness, caring and respect where no child has to wake up in the morning and go to school worrying about what will happen to them that day.”
At the ERASE (Expect Respect and A Safe Education) Bullying Summit participants shared their views on how to best deal with bullying and bring about the changes needed to create safe inclusive schools and communities. The audience also heard compelling personal stories from students about the impact bullying has had on their lives.
Summit participants also discussed cyberbullying – the newest form of bullying, and how the anonymity of technology has given bullies new weapons like text messaging, chat rooms, and social media outlets to intimidate people.
“Bullying shouldn’t be a rite of passage for young people,” said Premier Clark. “We need to make sure that those who target others, whether in a school hallway or in cyberspace, understand the real world consequences of their actions and become leaders for changing school culture.”
Education Minister Don McRae provided an update on the province’s 10-point ERASE Bullying Strategy, which included today’s launch of the new ERASEBullying.ca web portal and the new ReportBullyingBC.ca online reporting tool. The new website provides vital information, links and tips for parents and students while the new online reporting tool provides students a secure and anonymous way to report instances of bullying, threats and other safety concerns.
“The reporting tool makes it easier for students to take a stand and report bullying,” said McRae. “We were pleased to unveil the tool today at the summit and we received some good feedback and suggestions. More importantly, the participants will help spread the word among students that they can easily and anonymously report incidents or threats from a smartphone or computer when and where they feel safe to do so.”