The Canadian Red Cross – Anti Bullying Program

Please read the following from the Ottawa Citizen… After reading please read my comments at the end.

redcrossOTTAWA — On Monday, more than a year and a half after the suicide of 15-year-old Jamie Hubley, bullying was once again the topic at the late teen’s high school — but this time, the focus was hope.

At A.Y. Jackson Secondary School in Kanata, Heritage Minister James Moore announced the Canadian government would provide $250,000 in funding for a new national anti-bullying project.

“If we do nothing, it will lead to the death of children,” said Moore, whose riding in British Columbia is home to the late Amanda Todd.

The Canadian Red Cross will run the project, which is expected to have an impact on more than 50,000 young people across the country.

As part of the Stand Up to Bullying and Discrimination in Canadian Communities project, the Red Cross plans to train 2,400 teenagers ages 13 to 17 on how to deliver bullying prevention workshops and connect with their peers. After training, each teen will commit to reaching out to at least 20 others in his or her community to create a larger conversation about bullying.

The program will also host three youth-led forums, one each in British Columbia, Ontario and the Atlantic Region.

“You can see it spreading out like the red dots on a map,” said Dave Fraser, the director of social media with the Canadian Safe School Network, of the program’s impact.

He said he is happy to see a youth-led initiative as opposed to political slings and arrows over legislating bullying.

“Whenever there’s been an effort to introduce anti-bullying legislation, it’s been met with cumbersome debate,” he said.

A report released by UNICEF Canada in April ranked Canada twenty-first among 29 countries when it comes to the prevalence of bullied children. One-third of Canadian children have experienced bullying, said Lisa Wolff, UNICEF Canada’s director of domestic policy education.

“Over the last 10 years, the rate of bullying has not significantly declined,” she added.

Not everyone is convinced the new program is the answer.

Claire Crooks of the Centre for Prevention Science, part of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, said she is pleased to see an anti-bullying initiative that has young people at its helm and focuses on bullying both inside and outside of the school environment. But she has her reservations.

“I think that the challenge now is to not think this is the entire answer,” she said.

Crooks said that adults have to be engaged in the anti-bullying discussion just as much as their children: They need to watch their own behaviour, learn about their children’s social media use, and extend the anti-bullying conversation to community organizations that involve youth.

David Smith is also reticent about the program’s impact. The University of Ottawa education professor noted the government’s “modest investment” of a quarter-million dollars that boosted an already existing program, and the lack of evaluation of the program’s effectiveness as points of concerns.

Smith said he is still waiting on a national anti-bullying strategy that would engage multiple stakeholders and researchers to find solutions for Canada.

“In the big picture, it would be unrealistic to think this would have a significant impact on the bullying problem,” he said.

This is an absolute waste of tax payers money. They will continually focus on bullies and victims and focus on bullying as a school problem. So let me see if I got this right! They’re going to teach 2000 students about bullying in a couple of days and then go back and talk to 20 other students about bullying. What type of follow up do they have? What focus do they have on bystanders who are 100% of our community. I’ve been speaking on bullying for over 8 years I’m an author and our company has the most extensive follow up and tools to battle this problem. Our program focuses on the behavior of bystanders and the community. I guess they wanted the Red Cross because of its name. They never contacted us and we’re a Canadian Company. I contacted the government a couple of years ago. They replied with “you should talk to the education minister” I contacted the education minister and she said “you should contact the school boards” LOL
What do you think? the bullying stops when you go home? I don’t know about you but I’m not interest in listening to a teenager talk about bullying when they have no experience or talent to keep my attention. What are they going to do, add a few posters on the wall and read a PowerPoint presentation at school. WOW that should reduce the bullying.
I know people out there think “well at least their doing something” Yes but this approach will fail… You watch
So they get a couple days of training, they tell 20 friends about bullying and what about training the teachers? What about educating the parents? What about all the students that watch it? How can students speak up when they witness bullying? is there reporting systems? What about follow up exercises to educate students monthly? Are they doing pre and post surveys to see how the program is working?
The problem about this program is they’re trying to fix it by focusing on the bottom. We need to start at the top (school boards, police, parents) and work our way down.
I’m so passionate about anti bullying. I live and breath it everyday. I’m not here to cut up the Canadian Red Cross they are so important to our country and they help thousands of people everyday. I’m just trying to educate people and politicians LOL on how to reduce bullying. this program is not the right approach.
I would love to hear your comments about this program and if you think it is the right approach or not?

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