Today’s ERASE Bullying Summit is a free flow of information from one amazing presenter after the other. I have decided that the two words live blogging are a bit of an oxymoron in this case. So finally here is a quick pause in the day where I have a change to post a few random thoughts about what has transpired so far. After this I will focus on tweeting for the afternoon and will do a later wrap up blog after the fact.
Chris Gailus of Global TV is the moderator f0r the day. Handsome guy. Deep voice. Thanks Chris for keeping us on track.
Jay Luty -a recent high school graduate tells his story of living in the hellish reality of middle school and high school. “I am here to say how tough the post elementary world can be.” Describing himself as introverted and socially anxious, he says “the first few years of high school I was alone…I didn’t do these things by choice.” Being the butt of jokes made him even more anxious. One boy said to him, “screw off Jay, no one wants you here.” And the final result was feeling that “I wanted to die.”
Jay says opening up and talking to his parents about everything and even that he thought of suicide relieved the stress. He become more positive, starting to think about reaching his goals and recognizing his own strengths – academic, skills as a musician, being a kind person, having empathy. And he pulled himself out of it and turned his life around and became engaged at school.
Jay says if you are in despair, know that help is available. He asks parents, peers, and teachers to encourage students to say what they feel, to listen with an open ear and mind and to take action to ensure kindness and tolerance, and to help students find confidence in their strengths so they can fight bullying and insecurities. With a little cooperation from everyone, we can make that first step.
Buffy Cornell – a young high school student told her story of starting high school only to be subjected to racially oriented bullying and then moving to another school only to be targeted again as the new girl. The first day of school, someone decided she wasn’t nice and spread that around so no one would sit with her. She endured whispers, giggles in class, have food thrown at her in lunch. Even teachers and supervisors could not stop this behavior.
Buffy gained confidence when she joined a community rugby team and finding a group of friends through that. She brought that confidence back to school and was then able to make new friends.
Buffy would like us to address the moment when kids take out their insecurities on other people. She feels that helping students find interests they love will help young people find the confidence to get through the 5 years of highschool which is very difficult.
Premier Christy Clark gave an inspirational speech on what ERASE Bullying means to her and how passionate she is about it. How did her commitment start? She was discussing bullying on her radio show one day when her guest said to her, “if there is anything you can do about bullying, you should do it.” Christy doesn’t want to be a bystander.
Christy heard about Pink Shirt Day on the national and international stage and brought it to BC. She spoke about “how many children have been bullied… how many adults never got the closure they needed from being bullied… how many bullies never got to apologize… how many young people don’t feel safe at school…and that we need to do more to keep kids safe at school. It’s only us together that can fix this…and create a culture where schools are safe through reporting. Bringing compassion to schools – being kind, supportive, and standing up for the vulnerable.” She went on to say that today we are here to look at the ERASE bullying program, to hear from experts, and to seek out ideas on what more we can do. In BC, we want to do more to stop bullying than anywhere else in the world.
Minister Don McRae, Minister of Education gave an overview of the ERASE Bullying Program. A few things I was able to capture were:
- there are safe school coordinators in place in all 60 school districts – these coordinators are the front line on anti bullying strategy
- one pro D day dedicated for bullying
- include in curriculum for teachers – threats of cyberbullying
- ensuring stronger codes of conduct for schools
- protocols for threat assessments in school districts and community protocols
- clear guidelines and expectations
- provinical advisory committee being formed – various community partners
- new website launched today erasebullying.ca including brand new report bullying tool and resources
- how does the reporting tool work? info will go to the school safe coordinator who will assess details and decide what action to take.
- training is beginning for safe school coordinators
- threat assessment training is starting for 15,000 educators
- There are four levels of training:
Level 1: one day for elementary schools;
Level 2: Basic threat and risk assessment for secondary schools; Level 3: Advanced threat and risk assessment; and
Level 4 Train the Trainer.
Additional speakers this morning included:
- Theresa Campbell, on Training for ERASE Bullying
- Barbara Coloroso on the Role of the Bystander
More to come later…more speakers are joining us and I am missing it. PS – any errors in what I have captured are my own and just from trying to keep up with a huge amount of information! This is such a great forum. So grateful to be here.<