Stop bullies

Quarry Glen

ROCKLAND | Colourful T-shirts with anti- bullying slogans are the fall fashion trend at Rockland Public School. This year’s Grade 6 students at the school are waging the annual public awareness campaign about anti-bullying programs and youth help services for their peers and for anyone else in the community who gets singled out for being “different from the crowd”. Student representatives Brandon Cormier, Christele Jeannot, and Kyla Phillips explained both the strategy and the goal for this year’s campaign. “It’s because people need to be aware that bullying is a (modern) problem,” Jean- not said, as she and her peers note that the senior class at Rockland Public School (RPS) has had an anti-bullying awareness project ongoing for several years now. All three student reps for the RPS cam- paign recalled their own personal experi- ence with bullying when they were stu- dents at other schools before coming to RPS. “At my other school, one of my friends was bullied so I stood up for them,”said Phil- lips. “Then after a few weeks of that, I was getting targeted.” “One of my friends was getting bullied and I stood up for him,” said Cormier. “I got punched in the arm.” “This kid bullied me because of my hair,” said Jeannot, adding part of the reason she was targeted was because she was black. “I figured, if I didn’t react then he’d think ‘What’s the point?’ He just stopped after a week.” Doing the right thing and standing up to bullies can be hard for children if they have to do it on their own. Cormier’s bully got suspended when a teacher saw him throw the punch. Phillips was in Grade One when she was being bullied at her old school. She didn’t report her problem because she was afraid then the bullying would get worse. If she had a chance to do things over, she said, she would speak out rather than stay silent. This year, besides working to raise public awareness about bullying, peer pressure and other youth concerns, the Grade Sixers at RPS are also fundraising to help support the Kids Help! phone line program, the Ot- tawa Youth Distress Centre, and the Jer’s Vi- sion project which targets bullying based on homophobia and transgender discrimi- nation. The current campaign goal involves sell- ing T-shirts bearing various anti-bullying and anti-discrimination slogans and put- ting up posters around the school and the community. The 40 students in the RPS Grade Six classes will also take turns with special fundraising and awareness activi- ties like taking part in the local Boston Pizza celebrity server program which helps local non-profit groups, sports clubs and oth- ers raise money for their projects and pro- grams.

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