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Posted: March 7, 2014

Local student empowered to change culture of bullying

Premier Christy Clark Feb. 28 announced a strategy that will include youth to find solutions to bullying.

The premier made the announcement about ERASE (Expect Respect and A Safe Education) Bullying Strategy during a student-led forum at Panorama Ridge Secondary School in Surrey (pictured).

She also named 19 students who have been selected from across B.C. to form the new ERASE Student Advisory, including one from the East Kootenay, Kimberley Grade 8 student Brooke Janzer. Brooke volunteers with Free the Children and she has extensive knowledge of social media and technology.

“We need to work together to come up with clear strategies to stop bullying and intimidation, whether it’s happening at school, at the mall, or online,” said Premier Clark. “The best way to ensure our efforts remain effective and relevant is to make sure youth are in the provincial discussion. That’s why we’re supporting this student-led forum – to make sure their voices are heard.”

Students are starting the work of developing real solutions to change the culture of all forms of bullying, including cyber-bullying, she said, noting she has tasked the advisory with some specific goals. Their first task is to develop social media guidelines for schools, to provide direction to students, parents and educators on how to use social media ethically and responsibly both inside and outside the classroom.

“We are already taking great strides forward in B.C. when it comes to our bullying prevention initiatives and providing online resources to help youth,” said Education Minister Peter Fassbender. “But even with these successes, there is more work to be done. Lasting success requires a culture change that must be driven by students. That’s why we are empowering students to come up with their own ideas, so they can lead the way in promoting positive behaviours with their peers.”

“I know from talking to parents that students who feel safe and connected to their schools are far less likely to be involved in inappropriate activities,” said Jane Thornthwaite, parliamentary secretary for student support and parent engagement. “The benefits of having the ERASE Forum and involving students in our bullying prevention strategy will extend far beyond today.”

For a report on B.C.’s ERASE Bullying Strategy and what has been accomplished since its launch, go to: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/downloads/ERASE_Report.pdf

For a factsheet on B.C.’s ERASE Bullying Strategy, go to: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/downloads/ERASE_FACTSHEET.pdf.

Lead image: BC Government photo

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