What does “bullying” mean to you?

Bullying can happen anywhere. At a school, a mall and now, bullies have the added benefit of being able to use the Internet.

Some form of bullying or harassment has touched each and every one of us at some point in our lives. According to information from the Canadian Red Cross website, Redcross.ca, one in five Canadian youth  reported being bullied on a regular basis while other students spend 75 per cent of their time watching their peers and friends being bullied.

So how do we go about changing these statistics?  A good way to help prevent bullying is to talk about it and educate one another and children about it. The Canadian Red Cross website, has various links and suggestions available on how children  being bullied can stop it, and how schools can help prevent it. The Red Cross has also launched an anti-bullying campaign in Manitoba.

April 11 will come to be known as the Day of Pink across Manitoba as the Red Cross and RBC Royal Bank launched an initiative to help stop bullying across the province. To show their support for the project, thousands of students wore pink shirts to show how they are standing up against bullying.

The idea behind the pink shirts began in Kings Rural High School in Nova Scotia after two students encouraged their peers to all wear pink to school to help another peer who was being bullied for wearing pink.

Schools across Manitoba were encouraged to register and to order 150 free pink shirts for each of their schools at Redcross.ca/Dayofpink. Thanks to the support of the RBC Royal Bank, 2,000 pink shirts were provided to schools province wide. The Red Cross asked  students to wear a pink shirt and be a part of the difference.

Day of Pink was my inspiration for the two pre-recorded conversations you can access at the end of this story. I interviewed two junior high school students and was able to assure them  their names and identity would be left anonymous.  I asked them a few questions about bullying and what the word “bully” means to them. Knowing that their identity would be protected gave them opportunity to say what they really felt about the issues that surround bullying, without the worry of being judged later for their comments.

I encourage everyone to continue the conversation and help educate yourself and others about the effects of bullying. For more information or to be apart of this conversation, you can contact Lindsey Enns at enns.lindsey@gmail.com.  For those that would like to plan an event in order to raise awareness and take a stand against bullying, the Red Cross would like to send you a kit of ideas and activities you can use. The Red Cross would also like to hear from you and what you are planning, by contacting Rebecca at Rebecca.ulrich@redcross.ca.

In hopes that conversations like these continue, I chose to use  a simple voice recorder to capture the conversations I had about bullying.  Anyone can use similar, easy to use tools – many available on smart phones – to record conversations/interviews  (with consent of course) and share the stories with others via the Community News Commons website.