SASKATOON – The Saskatchewan government’s crackdown on bullying and cyberbullying was taken to the next level Tuesday.
The province launched an online anti-bullying reporting tool. On it, students and youth will be able to be heard while remaining anonymous.
Students tested out the new ‘I Am Stronger’ tool on iPads and cellphones Tuesday at the announcement made at Saskatoon’s École Alvin Buckwold School.
“I feel that it’s very helpful because people, now a days, they’re so shy and you don’t want to put your feelings out there and it’s so much harder to because then you get that ridicule or humiliation,” said Paul Barnaba, grade eight student.
The Government of Saskatchewan partnered with SaskTel to expand options on reporting bullying.
“The tragedies that we’ve seen, that families have endured with losing a child through suicide and the anguish that a child feels through bullying is something that is not acceptable,” said Don Morgan, Saskatchewan’s education minister.
“So we want to provide every tool that’s possible to try and address this problem.”
The province invested $250,000 to develop the online tool.
SaskTel will cover $30,000 annually in operating costs for the next 5 years, building on the province’s anti-bullying action plan.
“The student or victim or witness can go online, they don’t need to give any personal information,” said Morgan.
“They need to talk about what school they go to, what municipality they live in and the nature of what they saw or what they’re aware of and then that information goes forward to a coordinator who looks to see what resources can be made available.”
To download the new tool, go to the I Am Stronger website.
The system is expected to be fully operational in the next day or so.
The Saskatchewan government’s online reporting tool is modelled after the ‘ERASE’ tool in B.C.