All Posts Tagged With: "Bullying"
Suicide prevention stepped up from Nova Scotia to BC
VICTORIA – When Tad Milmine walks into a classroom, students don’t know anything about him.
They don’t know he’s an RCMP officer. They don’t know he’s gay. They don’t know he’s been bullied and abused.
But within minutes, students know he’s there for them, especially in their darkest, most vulnerable moments, Milmine said.
He speaks to them through the spirits of Ontario’s Jamie Hubley, Nova Scotia’s Rehtaeh Parsons and British Columbia’s Amanda Todd — all teen suicide victims mercilessly bullied by their peers before killing themselves. Todd died one year ago Thursday.
“I’m up there, just a guy named Tad,” said the Surrey, B.C., RCMP officer during an off-duty interview. “That’s how I get introduced. While I’m speaking they don’t even know I’m a police officer until about halfway through.”
Milmine said he started talking to students across Canada last October, at about the same time the country was emotionally shaken by Todd’s suicide.
The 15-year-old, Grade 10 student from Port Coquitlam, B.C., posted a video detailing her anguish over the sustained harassment she endured at school and on the Internet about images of her body posted on the Internet.
At one point in Todd’s video, which now has received over 28 million views, she holds up a handwritten note that says, “I have nobody. I need someone.”
Effect may extend to straight students
Schools with anti-homophobia policies and clubs are safer schools, and safer schools mean students are less likely to abuse alcohol, regardless of their sexual orientation, researchers at the University of British Columbia have found.
Senior author Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc said the study also indicates parents and school districts need not be worried about the harmful effects of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer programs on straight students.
There are “some schools, some boards of trustees or even parents (that) are concerned about whether or not we should have these kinds of policies,” Saewyc said.
“I would think that the research that we’ve just done and the evidence it provides should help alleviate some of those concerns around whether or not this has an impact, or at least is linked to better outcomes for not just lesbian, gay and bisexual teens but also for teens in general.”
Nova Scotia may review handling of Rehtaeh Parsons case
Nova Scotia’s Justice Department is looking for ways to review a grieving mother’s questions about the RCMP’s handling of her daughter’s allegations of sexual assault, an incident the girl’s mother says led to the teenager’s suicide.
After initially saying there would not be a review, Justice Minister Ross Landry changed his position late Tuesday night, asking his department to present him with options for a review.
Leah Parsons spoke out Tuesday about the case of her 17-year-old daughter, Rehtaeh, who was pulled off life-support Sunday night after she hanged herself last week.
Parsons said she is dissatisfied that the RCMP concluded there were no grounds to charge four boys over allegations they sexually assaulted Rehtaeh about 18 months ago.
In a statement, Landry says he hopes to meet with Rehtaeh’s mother to discuss her experience with the justice system.
“This situation is tragic, I am deeply saddened — as I think are all Nova Scotians — by the death of this young woman,” he said in the statement.
The anonymous compliment trend that started at Queen’s
From the 2013 Student Issue, on sale now.
Four Queen’s students chatted in the house they shared, lamenting the end of summer. “We were depressed school was starting again, there was lots of work to do, the weather was getting cold,” says Rachel Albi, a 20-year-old history major who spent her summer working at Disney World. The foursome wanted to do something together to feel better—but without moving. “We wanted to stay inside,” she laughs.
Just 10 minutes later, and inspired by her little sister’s efforts toward a similar project at her high school, Albi and her roommates—music students Jessica Jonker and Erica Gagne, and English major Amanda Smurthwaite—took to Facebook. Their creation, Queen’s U Compliments, launched on September 12th.
The premise is simple: “Basically, we made a profile, of a person not a page, so that we can tag people,” explains Jonker. Users, friends or otherwise, message compliments to Queen’s students which are tagged and posted anonymously. “That way, the compliment shows up on our wall and their personal page,” she says.
Inherited behavioural tendencies lead to victimization
A new study suggests a child’s likelihood of being bullied in elementary school is partially dictated by genetics.
The study published in the journal Child Development found genes helped dictate behaviours that most often led to a person being ostracized or victimized by fellow students.
Those behaviours included aggression, impulsiveness and hyperactivity.
The study surveyed nearly 800 pairs of identical and fraternal twins three times between kindergarten and grade four.
Researchers found that identical twins, who have the same genetic makeup, are more likely to have similar classroom experience than fraternal twins whose DNA is not a perfect match.
The study says the research demonstrates the importance of intervening to nip problematic behaviours in the bud at an early age.
From the turmoil of Quebec to the rise of the West
It was a record year for Maclean’s On Campus with more readers than ever, but perhaps that’s unsurprising considering how much there was to talk about. Based on clicks and comments, here are the top five campus news stories of 2012.
1. Quebec student groups helped toss a government and won a tuition freeze.
In March, Quebec student groups declared war on a planned tuition hike of roughly $2,000 over five years. By April, students at 11 of Quebec’s 18 universities and 14 of its 48 CEGEPs had declared “strikes” and were skipping classes. There were nightly marches in Montreal that made life miserable for many who lived and worked downtown. Students who dared go to classes, even after judges orders allowing them to return, were stopped by masked protesters. The nightly marches started turning violent and threatened the tourism industry. Something had to be done.
Red Hood Project is response to death of Amanda Todd
Children’s entertainer and advocate Raffi says he was “shaken” and “angry” when he heard about the death of Amanda Todd, a British Columbia teen who committed suicide in October following years of Internet sexual exploitation and bullying by her peers, and that’s why he co-founded the Red Hood Project.
Billed as a movement to make social media safe for young users, the project includes a website, a Facebook and Twitter page, and a letter the beloved “Baby Beluga” singer-songwriter co-wrote and sent to Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on Nov. 14.
The letter, which includes Todd’s mother’s signature, says that the 15-year-old was blackmailed through Facebook and urges the social media company to correct “the security failures that made such victimization possible.”
“Of course education of parents and young users is important, we recognize that, but we think the onus ought to be on those businesses — social media companies who create the risk in the first place — to do all that they can,” Raffi Cavoukian, who goes by just his first name onstage, said in a recent interview.
Scott Hems overcame bullying and lost 100 pounds
This story originally appeared in The Aquinian, the student newspaper at St. Thomas University.
In high school, I was a typical big guy. I took a lot of shit from people. I got teased and laughed at. Girls wouldn’t talk to me. I could never eat enough, and I never felt good about myself.
There was one thing did make me happy, though, and that was hockey. I loved hockey in high school, but couldn’t make the high level teams because of my weight. During AAA tryouts one year, the coach called me. He wanted to tell me I was a fantastic goalie and had the heart of a champion.
He followed up the pep talk by saying I was “too fat to present the image we want on this team.”
Information came through reporting tool on school website
Eight girls are facing charges in a bullying case at a high school in London, police in the southwestern Ontario city said.
The arrests were made as part of an investigation that revealed a student at the school had been the target of physical, emotional and cyber bullying, police said.
The eight suspects are each charged with criminal harassment and have been released from custody on a promise to appear in court.
Police could not say Friday when the hearing would take place.
They said information about the alleged bullying came from direct statements and through an anonymous reporting portal on the school website.
Tip line was contacted about B.C. teen who killed herself
A national child exploitation group received a tip almost a year ago about 15-year-old Amanda Todd, the British Columbia teenager who took her own life last week after being sexually exploited by an online stalker and bullied by her peers.
A concerned citizen contacted cybertip.ca last November to report that images of then-12-year-old Todd were being circulated online, said Signey Arnason, director of the tipline for reporting online sexual exploitation of children.
“We did receive one report, and that was passed along to law enforcement as well as child welfare,” Arnason said Monday. “It was not a report from her, but it was a report from a concerned citizen.”
Todd died last Wednesday, a month after posting a haunting video on YouTube that cited the sexualized attack that set her down a path of anxiety, depression and drug and alcohol abuse.
During her nine-minute video, the teen explained in hand-written notes that she was in Grade 7 when she was lured by an unidentified male to expose her breasts via webcam.
One woman reflects on her high school torment
When I read about Amanda Todd’s suicide, I was affected, not only because someone so young decided to take her life, but also because of how it reminded me of my own adolescence.
To the right is a photo of me at Todd’s age. By the time that picture was taken, I had been bullied practically every day for five years. It started with some older girls who thought my name, Ravanne, sounded funny. They would chase me, scream at me, and throw food at me. Although concerned classmates stood up for me, it never stopped.
As early as sixth grade, I was depressed and socially anxious. When I entered junior high school, I was afraid to talk to new people out of fear that they too would laugh at me. I did make some friends, but for every friend I made, at least two people would obsessively bully me.
Amanda Todd was attacked online and at school
There was an outpouring of condolences on social media following the suspected suicide of a British Columbia teenager who last month posted a gut-wrenching video to YouTube of her treatment at the hands of relentless bullies.
Coroner Barb McLintock said Thursday night that preliminary indications suggest Amanda Todd, 15, took her own life one day earlier.
Todd posted a haunting, black-and-white, nine-minute video on Sept. 7 in which she doesn’t speak, but holds up a series of white pieces of paper with brief sentences in black marker.
On the papers, the teen explains that as a Grade 7 student, she was lured by an unidentified male to expose her breasts via webcam.
One year later, Todd said she got a message from him on Facebook, though she didn’t know how he knew her name or where to find her.
How I bullied to fit in at school
This essay first appeared in The Ryersonian.
When I think back to Grade 7, most things are a haze. I had just started at a new school and I was well into my awkward stage. It was more than 10 years ago and my memories have since blurred into a combination of desks, colour-coded notes and the new uniforms that I had to wear; but I remember one thing clearly. That year, I became a mean girl.
We’re not talking the typical Regina George style bully either. (For those who don’t know, George was one of the Mean Girls in the eponymous film starring Lindsay Lohan.) I was my very own brand of villain.
In my tween years, I was not popular crew material. My hair was pulled tight, my front teeth jutted out like the bow of a canoe, bridled back by multicoloured braces and my eyebrows resembled two fuzzy caterpillars inching their way back together. It was not my best look.
Gay Carleton student targeted
QuickMemes, with their block-letter jokes superimposed on photos, have been shared on Canadian students’ Facebook walls for much of the past year. Many of them are funny. But Arun Smith of Carleton University, who is openly gay, wasn’t laughing after a friend showed him anti-gay QuickMemes with his photo on them in April. “They were phenomenally hurtful, they were harassing, they were libelous, they were hateful, and they were very, very violent,” he told CBC News. Smith says he hopes charges will be laid if police catch the images’ creator or creators.
Rhode Island legislators say Facebook causes bullying
The U.S. state Rhode Island has passed an “anti-bullying” law that creates a state-wide ban on the use of social networking sites anywhere on school property. As The Huffington Post points out, that means students won’t be able to access the legislature’s own Facebook page, which could make it difficult for the government to extend its fan-base beyond the eight people who have “liked” it so far.
Study finds many LGBTQ students feel unsafe
Taunts and insults are a daily occurrence for many students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, two-spirited, queer or questioning (LGBTQ). This is one of the several unsettling findings in a national study lead by University of Winnipeg professor Catherine Taylor, with funding from anti-homophobia human rights organization Egale Canada.
The study, Every Class in Every School: Egale’s Final Report on Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia in Canadian Schools surveyed over 3 700 students between 2007 and 2009 from across Canada. The report found that 64 per cent of LGBTQ students reported feeling unsafe at school, while 21 per cent reported being physical harassed or assaulted.
“What is striking is the gap students are experiencing between official school curriculum, which emphasizes human rights and diversity, and the curriculum of the hallways, where LGBTQ students feel unsafe, insulted or harassed,” Taylor said in a press release issued by the U of W.
Ontario Catholic schools will create anti-bullying clubs that definitely won’t be called ‘gay-straight alliances’
Let’s embark upon a little thought experiment, shall we? Suppose Johnny B. Seventh-Grader is being bullied mercilessly for his fiery red hair. “Ginger!” the kids call him. “Freak of nature!” they say. “You have no soul!” And so forth. Johnny, feeling ostracized and alone, looks to his school’s administration for support. Naturally, one would assume, resources would be available for our redheaded friend. After all, the school—a public institution—is part of a society where reds have the right to live freely from discrimination. Redheaded people can work in Canada, they can own property, they can vote, hell—they can even marry! So the school, you would expect, would be compelled to foster an environment of inclusion. Johnny’s principal hears his plight, and, in an effort to change the culture of taboo brewing around redheads, she creates a school club called, “It’s OK to be R**.” What’s wrong, Johnny? Don’t you feel more accepted?
The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA) is doing the same sort of semantic dance when it comes to naming its new anti-bullying groups, created in response to requests for gay-straight alliances in Catholic schools. A reporter from Xtra, a national gay and lesbian newspaper, spoke with OCSTA president Nancy Kirby, who told her the new groups will not be called gay-straight alliances:
“When I look at a gay-straight alliance, I see an activist group,” [Kirby said]. We are answering the students’ request for support and assistance, not for activism. Students don’t want to become activists; they want to be supported in being bullied by their peers.”
Is standing up against anti-gay bullying not activism? “In some ways it could be and in other ways it isn’t,” she says. The groups will all have a “common name.”
That’s right—no activism allowed! On a side note, Kirby should probably look into St. Joseph Secondary School, where a lot of this GSA talk originated, because the school apparently has a Solidarity Action Committee “committed to creating a just world by working for peace, fairness and equality everywhere.” Sounds like trouble to me…
Rutgers University suicide case puts focus on bullying
The college roommate of the Rutgers University student who committed suicide after being filmed having a sexual encounter with another man, has been indicted on invasion of privacy charges. Dharun Ravi is alleged to have left a video camera in his dorm room and subsequently viewing, and streaming online, his roommate Tyler Clementi engaged in sexual activity. Ravi is also accused of tampering with evidence. Prosecutors claim he altered a Twitter message that advertised to others that another encounter between Clementi and the same man would be videotaped. Shortly after the incident Clementi took his own life by jumping off of the George Washington Bridge. His body was discovered in the Hudson River on Sept 30 of last year. In November, federal legislators introduced an anti-bullying bill titled the “Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act,” in remembrance of the 18 year old freshman.
Study confirms what nerds have believed for years
University of California researchers say that popular students are more likely to bully their peers than “social outcasts.” An increase in social status is linked to an increase in aggression, for both males and females, confirming what nerds like me have believed for years: it’s the cool kids who make high school a nasty place.
The study, which was recently published in American Sociological Review, used data from The Context of Adolescent Substance Use survey, which is based on 3,722 eight, ninth and 10th-grade students at 19 different public schools in North Carolina. A student’s popularity was determined by their position in the school’s “web of friendships,” and the authors of the study defined aggression as physical, verbal, or indirect behavior directed toward harming or causing pain to another student. The study followed students throughout a school year.
However, the researchers found that students at the top of the social hierarchy were generally not as aggressive. Those in the top 2 percent of a school’s social hierarchy–along with those at the bottom– were found to be the least aggressive.
“If an adolescent at the top of the social hierarchy were to act aggressively towards his or her peers, such action could signal insecurity or weakness rather than cement the student’s position,” said Robert Faris, an assistant professor of sociology at UC Davis. “And, it’s possible that, at the highest level, they may receive more benefits from being pro-social and kind.”
As for those students at the bottom of the pecking order, they simply don’t have the power to act out aggressively.
The fact that there’s a correlation between popularity and bullying doesn’t seem too surprising. In high school I experienced plenty of ‘correlations’ with popularity. Like the negative correlation between popularity and chess club membership.
Report finds two thirds of LGBTQ students feel unsafe in high school
A new study shows that bullying against students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer (LGBTQ) is common in Canadian high schools. Of the 3,600 students surveyed 14 per cent identified as LGBTQ, 51 per cent of whom reported being subject to verbal insults related to their sexual orientation and two-thirds of whom reported that they felt unsafe at their schools. Seventy per cent of all those who participated in the study said they heard the phrase “that’s so gay” on a daily basis. The study was conducted by Egale Canada and the University of Winnipeg.