Premier Christy Clark marked Bullying Awareness Day - also known as Pink Shirt Day - by announcing grants to school-led anti-bullying efforts across B.C., including a $15,000 grant to Point Grey Secondary school.
"By standing up against bullying, we send a powerful message - bullying has to stop, period," said Premier Clark. "We can make this happen if we act together. With our ERASE Bullying strategy in full swing, these grants will help schools like Point Grey Secondary go further by supporting efforts already underway."
The grants to school-led anti-bullying are part of a total of 81 projects that are benefiting from $1 million from civil forfeiture proceeds. The projects are related to combating bullying, youth crime, violence against women and family violence, human trafficking and sexual exploitation, and community crime, as well as for police training and equipment. The balance of these grants will be announced in the weeks ahead, once all recipients have been notified.
"Point Grey Secondary students are helping to set a good example of the positive results we can achieve when we take away proceeds of unlawful activity through civil forfeiture," said Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. "The funds will be used to foster a culture of caring and a sense of community, where hopefully no student feels like an outsider."
The school will use its $15,000 grant from civil forfeiture proceeds toward various approaches to engage students and nurture a safe, inclusive school environment. Through the Point Grey Cares project, youth leaders will reach out to students on the fringes of the school community in innovative ways - for example, through youth culture events over the school year.
Other anti-bullying projects receiving grants include:
- Beyond the Hurt. The Canadian Red Cross Society (CRCS) and Victoria High school will use their grants to train student leaders and help sustain this intensive, peer-led bullying prevention program from year to year, in schools in Bella Bella, Kitkatla, Port Simpson and Victoria. The program trains students to understand the dynamics of bullying and harassment, and how youth can work together to initiate change. The CRCS is receiving nearly $15,000 for its northern project; Victoria High is receiving $6,600.
- Tools of Change. This project in Powell River is receiving $15,000 to bring up to 60 youth who have been affected by bullying together with skilled workshop facilitators, musicians, artists and outdoor educators. A transformative, two-day summit will culminate in a community event showcasing the anti-bullying work completed by summit participants.
- Empathy and Community Spirit: Building a Community of Caring. Sunset Elementary school in Port McNeill will use its $15,000 grant toward monthly assemblies focused on caring, noon-hour activities that foster empathy and support, a concert for its entire school community, a peer support program, and a knowledge-sharing project involving grandparents and First Nations elders.
- Preventing Bullying & Building Community Through Circles. The Halfmoon Bay Community School Association will use its $15,000 grant to prevent bullying and address the "under-the-radar" bullying in Sunshine Coast schools, by creating safe spaces for students to meet and resolve conflicts, and to connect with each other, staff and parents.
- Working Together Against Bullying. This project at Quesnel's Kersley Elementary school is school-focused but will be shared with the entire community. With its $1,000 grant, this project will create awareness and teach strategies for preventing and responding to bullying behaviour, including through a community event.
Today, government also released an ERASE Bullying public service announcement. The PSA helps to create awareness that sharing hurtful comments online is bullying. The PSA also draws people to the Erasebullying.ca website for more information and tips on how to fight bullying, including cyberbullying.
"When someone witnesses bullying, they have the power to stop it," said Education Minister Don McRae. "By being a helpful bystander, whether that's online or at school, they can defend the person getting bullied and rally their friends to do the same."
- In November 2012, government announced that up to $1 million would be available from civil forfeiture proceeds for projects geared to building community safety, and invited applications from schools, community groups and policing agencies.
- In addition to civil forfeiture grants, government provides more than $375,000 in direct funding for crime prevention programs each year.
- Active since April 2006, B.C.'s Civil Forfeiture Office counters the profit motive behind much unlawful activity. The office files civil court actions against property alleged to be a tool used to further unlawful activity or a proceed of it.
The new ERASE Bullying public service announcement is available at: http://youtu.be/c1WBzMLgixM
Pink Shirt Day: www.pinkshirtday.ca/
ERASE Bullying tips and resources for parents and youth: www.erasebullying.ca/
ERASE Bullying Student Online Reporting Tool: www.reportbullyingbc.ca
Office of the Premier
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice