Looking on the bright side of bullying

By: Annalee Grant
Reporter, Cranbrook Daily Townsman

Over the past month, I have been researching bullying, speaking with students and educators to get a picture of bullying in Cranbrook and Kimberley.

The intention of the stories that will appear in coming issues is not to slam our local schools, but rather to get a conversation going about something that is often not talked about. I have started with my own story of being bullied in school, which is why I decided to tackle this subject in the first place.

What I discovered was overwhelmingly positive, but it is obvious there is bullying taking place. The students I talked to were so honest with me, I really appreciated their opinions and how unfiltered their experiences were.

I really enjoyed hearing from all the educators that students are coming forward now more than ever. They feel comfortable with their teachers and guardians and are speaking up when they experience bullying or see others bullied. Schools are also making a serious and applaudable effort to transition students between elementary school to middle school, and from there into high school.

Technology has wedged its way into schools across the world, and more students are turning online. It has made it easier for youth to communicate, but it has also created a world where anonymous bullying can be done with the perpetrator not seeing their victim. Many things are being said online that one would never say to a person’s face. Online communications are also easy to track and pin down.

There have been great strides made, but there is also a reluctance to have the negative side published the way the students have told it to me – unfiltered. It is a dangerous and naïve assumption to think that bullying is not happening right here in Cranbrook and Kimberley. It is also dangerous not to bring it out into the open and I hope I have done that in a way that positively reflects what many school principals, students and the RCMP are doing to make the world safer and happier for youth.

We may never have a world without bullying, but I believe we can have a world where victims and those participating in bullying recognize it for what it is. Both sides need help to get through it – victims need support and a resolution, while we need to understand the underlying reasons why bullies do what they do so that we can break the cycle.

I think we’re getting there, and that is truly exciting. I hope you enjoy reading what I have learned, and see the positives that are reflected within it.


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