Wed, 06/12/2013 - 10:23am

Sound Off On Bullying

By: Kathleen  Fellinger

How would you define bullying?  How would you define bullying to your kids?  How would you define bullying at your work place?  Is workplace adult bullying different than school bullying for children? When does teasing turn into bullying?  When is bullying harassment?  These are hard questions that were asked last night at the Anti-Bullying Consultation held here in Regina.  They were questions discussed by parents, grandparents, teachers, community leaders and other interested groups and individuals at last night’s Provincial Anti-Bullying Consultation.

On February 7, 2013, Premier Brad Wall appointed Member of the Legislative Assembly for Saskatoon Fairview, Jennifer Campeau, as Legislative Secretary to the Minister of Education – Anti-Bullying Initiative.  Ms. Campeau and a team have been travelling across the Province to North Battleford, Prince Albert, La Ronge, Yorkton, Swift Current and last night here to Regina to host public meetings with interested groups and individuals to discuss anti-bullying initiatives and strategies.  There are still two in-person consultation meetings in Weyburn and Saskatoon left and there is also an ongoing online forum for people to contribute through as well.

These meetings provide an opportunity for residents of Saskatchewan to contribute and have their say as to how to deal with bullying in our province; most importantly in our schools.  And the most crucial aspect of these meetings is to share our personal experiences, and our children’s experiences with bullying.  The Government of Saskatchewan was simply listening last night to what we have to say on a very important subject. The ideas and strategies that we share at these consultations will help to form a provincial-wide plan for anti-bullying.  Ms. Campeau stressed last night that it was important to have the community input.

It was an open forum; we sat at tables with about 10+ people per table.  They asked us questions to get us started and it did take a minute for people to warm up, but once the dialogue started the discussion took off like fire, people began to really get out their ideas, and then we felt comfortable to share our personal and very emotional experiences with bullying.  This is always an emotional and hearttfelt subject, especially when it deals with our children, how they are treated and how isolated some families feel.  It is a very important discussion but more importantly, when you share your experiences and you open up your vulnerabilities, you want to feel that someone cares, someone is listening and someone can help to do something about a problem that really knows no colour, no race, no faith nor gender.  This is a problem that we all share and must contribute towards fixing.  If you are a parent of a child who is being bullied right now, if you are a child who feels you need help, this is a chance to share your experiences and get help.

HOW CAN WE CONTRIBUTE?

There are still two in-person meetings left in Weyburn and Saskatoon.  If you cannot make it to an in-person meeting, you can also go online and contribute through the website or by sending an email.  To join now, visit www.skantibullying.insightrix.com/registration.php  The website will be open until June 21, 2013.

You can also email your ideas, stories and experiences to anti-bullying@gov.sk.ca . This email address will be active until October 2013.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO CONTRIBUTE?

Any Saskatchewan resident 16 years of age or older can join and participate in the online forum, which will be available until June 21, 2013.  If you are younger than 16 years old, and you want to participate, you can join but you will need your parent's consent.

If you ever felt like you needed an opportunity to do something about bullying but didn’t know where or how to contribute, this is that opportunity.  Now is our time to make everyday anti-bullying day in our community.  This is our chance to make a difference and every individual matters.

To learn more about the Government of Saskatchewan’s Anti-Bullying Initiative, please visit www.education.gov.sk.ca/Anti-Bullying.