The numbers are quite disturbing. According to a report issued by the World Health Organization, Canada ranks 26th out of 35 countries in terms of bullying.
In response to those numbers and the recent suicide of British Columbia teen Amanda Todd, who killed herself because of online bullying, students of the EDSS anti-bullying club have created a new anti-bullying video and are going to use the internet, the same forum that gave Todd’s tormenters an opportunity to harass her beyond the schoolyard, as a platform to stop bullying in schools and online.
Todd was found dead in her Port Coquitlam, B.C. home a month after she posted a video to YouTube describing the bullying she had endured over several months. In the clip, the 15-year-old holds up signs detailing her concerns and sadness.
In the new EDSS video students hold signs describing different forms of bullying and question why a person would bully another.
“We want to remind people of what happened to (Todd),” said Heather Larke, one of the eight members of the anti-bullying club.
“We wanted it to hit home, people see the (Todd) video and think it is just one girl in B.C., but it is not just one girl in B.C: it’s people all over the country, continent, all over the world, including people in this school and community. It’s all over everywhere and we wanted students at this school to know it is here too and we can’t keep ignoring it or pushing it under the rug,” said club member Brittany Martin.
No student’s face can been seen in the video and that is intentional, according to the club members.
“It’s not just one individual who is bullied: everyone has their own problems and face their own bullies. Really, there is no face to bullying,” said club member Jordan Mahoney.
The video was to be posted to YouTube this week and the club is going to use their online presence to send it around the school by using their social networks and Twitter to advertise their production.
“If social media is how people are bullied it seems right that we use social media to spread our message about anti-bullying,” said EDSS teacher Tom O’Connor.
Along with the video the club has made posters which look like screen shots from the video that will be posted all over the school.
The EDSS anti-bullying club, formerly known as the Gay-Straight Alliance Club, underwent a re-branding with hopes of attracting new members. In the past the club focused on a variety of bullying issues, not only those pertaining to the gay community. The change in name was made in hopes that students at the school would realize the club does not only focus on homophobia but deals with other types of bulling too.
“We noticed that there was a stigma against our old club name and we want to try and expand the amount of members we have and be inclusive to more people,” said Larke.