Standing up against bullies

Schools across the country are recognizing today as Pink Shirt Day or Anti-Bullying Day.

Schools across the country are recognizing today as Pink Shirt Day or Anti-Bullying Day.

The designation is meant to shine a light on the difficult issue of bullying, and open the dialogue on how we as parents and community leaders can help children feel supported and confident as they navigate the special, but often difficult years of high school.

Politicians and teachers are all well aware of the dangers of ignoring the problem.

In Canada we have had several tragic tales of teens bullied to the brink of suicide in recent years.

We never want to repeat that, and that is why it is so important to have student leaders in our schools teaching anti-bullying strategies and challenging the norm.

We were recently introduced to a fascinating student at Lake City Secondary School named Donavan Shaw, who we are now introducing to you in this edition of the paper.

Donavan is a 16-year-old Grade 11 student who, after struggling for years with feelings of isolation and depression, came to the realization in Grade 9 that he was gay and bravely shared that information about himself to his peers and eventually his family.

Donavan said he didn’t “choose” to be gay, he just was and shouldering that secret took its toll.

Now openly living his life the way he wants to, eyeliner and all, Donavan is happy and he hopes to help other youth struggling with who they are, whether that’s gay, straight or otherwise.

Donavan’s message is one of acceptance, pure and simple.

Soon Donavan will be taking his anti-bullying campaign to the provincial level after being selected as one of just twelve students appointed to Christy Clark’s ERASE Bullying strategy.

In this prestigious role Donavan will be able to influence policy makers at high levels of government and reach a much wider audience with his important message.

We are certain when Christy Clark meets Donavan, she will be as impressed with him as we were.

If you have a child who is being bullied, or if you suspect your child is being bullied, there are many resources available to help.

At www.erasebullying.ca there is information available for parents and youth, including tips for talking to schools, cyber bullying, a guide to Internet slang for parents as well as what you need to know about youth suicide. The website says that bullying isn’t just a child’s issue, it’s a school and community issue and must be addressed with a school and community solution.

We couldn’t agree more.

 

– Williams Lake Tribune/Advisor