November 14, 2012 - 11:01 AM
The province launched an anti-bullying website today as part of a strategy to eliminate bullying through cultural changes.
The new website offers links and tips for parents and students and includes an online reporting tool giving students an anonymous and secure way to report instances of threats and bullying as well as other safety concerns.
Education Minister Don McRae says the anonymous nature of the reporting tool will allow young people to report threats using a smartphone or computer at a time they feel safe doing so.
"The reporting tool makes it easier for students to take a stand and report bullying," said McRae.
The announcement of ERASEBullying.ca and ReportBullyingBC.ca came during Premier Christy Clark's ERASE Bullying Summit held in Vancouver Nov. 13. Students, anti-bullying experts and key stakeholders shared ideas that could help communities, schools 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 Premiere 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."
Newer methods of anonymous intimidation using text messaging, social media outlets and chat rooms (cyberbullying) were also discussed during the summit.
"Bullying shouldn't be a rite of passage for young people," said Premiere 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."
In response to Premiere Clark's campaign, the Ministry of Justice is encouraging schools, police agencies and community groups working to combat bullying to apply for a share of up to $1 million in grants from civil forfeiture proceeds.
"In recent weeks, and in the course of yesterday's anti-bullying summit, it has become clear to us that civil forfeiture proceeds could be used to protect young people in yet another important way - that is, by supporting community-led efforts to combat bullying," said Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond. "Given the current round of grant funding is now open to applications, I encourage any group interested in this vital public safety issue to consider applying.
Since 2006, B.C. has sought the forfeiture of cash sums, helicopters, cars, properties and other assets linked to unlawful activity. Most of almost $28.7 million taken in so far has gone to support the self-funding program, while about one-third has gone to fund grants to local crime prevention programs in communities throughout B.C., and to compensate fraud victims.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2012