Think­ing pink at Galt

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM - Vic­to­ria Vanier Len­noxville

colour pink was in promi­nence, last Wed­nes­day, at Alexan­der Galt High School. It was Anti-bul­ly­ing Day, held ev­ery year on the last Wed­nes­day of Fe­bru­ary, and pink tee shirts, pink rib­bons, pink wrist­bands, and any­thing else pink, was the cos­tume of the day.

“The Anti-bul­ly­ing Club planned a ‘pink shirt day’ for last Wed­nes­day. Run­ning up to Pink Shirt Day they ran a con­test dur­ing the week where stu­dents could win ei­ther a pink tee shirt or a ‘Stop a bully’ wrist­band,” ex­plained cy­cle 1Math and Sci­ence teacher, Jen­nifer Meagher, who over­sees the club. To take part in the con­test, stu­dents first had to read some tragic, true sto­ries about bul­ly­ing, true biog- ra­phies, re­searched and writ­ten by Mrs. Comeau’s level 1 English stu­dents, that were posted around the school. Then they had to an­swer ques­tions about the sto­ries to earn ei­ther a tee shirt or a wrist­band.

“We were pretty pleased with the con­test; lots of kids en­tered it. We have no­ticed that when we talk about bul­ly­ing, we get more re­ports on the “Stop a Bully” web­site. It makes peo­ple more aware,” com­mented Ms. Meagher. The “Stop a Bully” web­site, which al­lows peo­ple to re­port bul­ly­ing in­ci­dences anony­mously, is eas­ily ac­cessed on the school’s web­site.

Mem­bers of the An­tiBul­ly­ing Club also gave out pink rib­bons and made pre­sen­ta­tions. The school’s Stu­dent Ser­vices staff got in on the act with a ‘Think pink for pink drink’ cam- paign, giv­ing out pink lemon­ade and pink wrist­bands on Wed­nes­day.

Ac­cord­ing to the stu­dents, cy­ber-bul­ly­ing, or bul­ly­ing through so­cial me­dia like face­book, is get­ting big­ger. There is also ver­bal bul­ly­ing, name-call­ing, ex­clu­sion and some­times phys­i­cal abuse.

The club’s anti-bul­ly­ing ef­fort will con­tinue past anti-bul­ly­ing week with monthly themes deal­ing with is­sues such as cy­ber­bul­ly­ing and ho­mo­pho­bia.

The school’s Anti- Bul­ly­ing Club had a rather un­usual be­gin­ning. “Last year I started a group of stu­dents for a Stu­dent Coun­cil on the ju­nior side. When we met, the stu­dents al­ways wanted to talk about bul­ly­ing. If some­thing is im­por­tant to them, then it’s im­por­tant to us. So this year we de­cided that the group would fo­cus on bul­ly­ing,” said Ms. Meagher.

At the Na­tional Assem­bly ear­lier in Fe­bru­ary, the Que­bec gov­ern­ment pre­sented Bill 56, an anti-bul­ly­ing law that would re­quire all schools in the prov­ince to adopt an anti-bul­ly­ing and anti-vi­o­lence plan which in­cludes des­ig­nat­ing some­one re­spon­si­ble for the plan. It also calls for part­ner­ships be­tween the schools and po­lice and so­cial ser­vices.

Photo cour­tesy

Teacher Jen­nifer Meagher, far left, over­sees Galt’s Anti-bul­ly­ing Club which will re­main ac­tive un­til yearend. Mem­bers of the club are (l. to r.) Alexan­dre God­dard, Gabriele Szekely, Tif­fany Stone­house, Claire Pail­lard and Jef­frey Courte­manche.

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