The 11 students who are part of the “Anti-Bullying Crew” at St. Charles elementary school in Pierrefonds are spreading a message of positivity.
The Grade 6 students, wearing pink from head to toe, went from class to class, teaching younger students how to deal with cases of bullying on Wednesday.
The special presentations were taking part during Pink Shirt day, the national anti-bullying campaign.
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“One of the main things that we promote in our group is empathy: understanding how it feels to be bullied and left out, not included,” said Alicia Marolly, special education technician.
Marolly started the ABC initiative three years ago. Students on a weekly basis brainstorm ways to promote kindness among the student body.
“We want to make students feel comfortable enough so that they can talk about what’s happening and not be in an environment where they are stressed or enclosed,” said Grade 6 student Lorelei Doan.
One of the biggest messages the group promotes is that when faced with a bullying situation, people should use their W.I.T.S.: “Walk away. Ignore. Talk it out. Seek help.”
Grade 6 student Michael Sourour says helping students deal with cases of bullying is rewarding and motivating for himself and others.
“Giving help, that’s what inspired the anti-bullying crew. I thought that I could inspire to help ours,” Sourour said.
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According to Statistics Canada, one in four youth between the ages of 12 and 17 reported that they experienced cyberbullying in 2019.
An equal share of adults under the age of 30 experienced some form of online harassment, with social media and text messages being the most common.
While cyberbullying is not prevalent in elementary schools, cases have been reported and are taken seriously, Marolly said.
“There have been incidents in Grade 6,” Marolly said. “It has been dealt with by our principal. Parents do need to be notified, so they are also monitoring what’s happening in their homes.”