Thursday April 24, 2014

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Bullying problem is everyone’s responsibility



With respect to Ron Breadner’s and Mokie Burnham’s letters (Coast Reporter, Oct. 26) on raising children — role modelling responsible, pro-social ethical behaviour and having membership in systems that promote positive remedies for bad behaviour (bullying) are ongoing relentless affiliations with responsibilities that never end.  Bullying is not a kid problem; it belongs to everyone.

Burnham noted that “our system failed Amanda Todd.” Our societal mistake is our failure to recognize that society, community and family are all part of that system.

Breadner indicated the time and effort extended over his career to implement programs that addressed bullying, good programs that have come and gone. If bullying is truly a concern, then we must have those support structures in place, in schools, the community and our homes, and relentlessly uphold them. Even when the messengers change, systems keep on working.

A program that addresses bullying is not a one-step solution; it’s a way of life, a way of being, not just for a child, for everyone. I suggest we are bound for continued failure to address the problem until every adult, whether in a child’s life or not, and every child in our community is exposed to and engaged in a vehicle of support, that is preventative in its strengthening nature for the group, and restorative for the bullies and their behaviour.

Amanda Todd’s death should remind us of the dark despicable side of bullying.

This is one more warning that our community and its network of institutions, community groups and structures have to do more than talk safety; we have to promote it, teach it and help it to manifest. In a community system, it is everyone’s responsibility.

Marian de Jong, West Sechelt



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