Grade eight students at Riverside Education Centre in Milford, N.S. have started a campaign to stop cyberbullying.
The recent deaths of two teenaged girls in Nova Scotia, linked to cyberbullying, have triggered the students to take action.
Some of them are pledging to give up the social media sites being linked to bullying, such as Facebook and Formspring, which allow anonymous comments to be posted.
“We’re just trying to stop cyberbullying and trying to get everyone to be friends and stop having so many cliques in the school,” said grade eight student Marissa Doutre. “Just join everyone together and stop saying ‘look at this person, look at that person’—just be friends and talk positive about each other.”
The grade eight students spoke to grade six students at their school about cyberbullying. Staff say it’s important to drive home the anti-bullying message at an early age so kids can identify what is and isn’t appropriate.
“We want all of our students to be able to get access to the same information piece and be okay to say ‘I’m not comfortable with the messages I’m seeing on Facebook or Formspring’ or any of those other social networks,” said Heather Douglas, the principal at Riverside Education Centre.
On Wednesday, the students signed pledge forms to stay away from websites where messages can be sent anonymously.
They’ve also put together a video that highlights their pledge campaign.
In addition, they’ve decorated a wall in the school’s main foyer with pledge stickers promising to stay away from the social sites. The wall is the first thing that greets people entering the school.
“We’re just really trying to hammer it home, especially in the middle schools, so that by the time they get to high school, this isn’t going to be an issue any further,” said Const. Cheryl Ponne, the RCMP school liaison officer.
The process will continue next week when parents will be invited to an information session put on by staff and police where they can learn more about cyberbullying.