Quebec was hit hard after hearing the news about young Marjorie Raymond this past spring 2011. The 15 year old ended her life after being physically and emotionally harassed at her school in Gaspésie. This tragic event again sparked the debate over school bullying and how to talk to and help children with this troubling issue.
Bullying: Stats and Facts
According to statistics reported by Canal Vie 10 % of children are victims of bullying. A study in Toronto revealed that an intimidation tactic happens every 7 seconds but that teachers are only aware of about 4% of them. Bullying is responsible for 15% of school absences. Children bullying their peers is a serious matter. If violence between adults is not tolerated and punishable by law, it is just as serious in the case of minors, whether the abuse is physical or psychological.
Types of bullying
The victim of bullying suffers in silence. Kids that are bullied often don’t tell their parents. They are scared to talk about the problem, afraid that by speaking up they will be called a snitch and suffer worse abuse.
Physical intimidation is characterized by hitting, pushing, spitting, as well as stealing and destroying personal property.
Verbal intimidation is characterized by by name-calling, humiliation, threats, mocking as well as racist comments.
Sexual intimidation covers several types of aggressive behaviours that aim to exclude and hurt a person based on their gender or sexual orientation. This behaviour can manifest itself with cruel rumors and social ostracism.
Bullies use their size, strength, popularity, or wealth to exploit the weaknesses of their victims.
Signs your child may be the victim of bullying
A child’s behaviour changes when they are being bullied. They become more irritable, refuse to go to school, say they are sick in order to stay home. They may seem sad, depressed, or their belongings may be damaged. To help your child, you have to make them understand that talking about the issue doesn’t make them a snitch and that you will stand by and support them throughout this time. Reinforcing your child’s right to speak is very important for helping them through this situation. Speak with the school in order to find a solution to this problem.
Lastly, the majority of students are often witnesses to the to the bullying and this silent majority has to learn to collectively denounce aggression towards weaker individuals in order to keep bullying out of the schoolyard.
Consult PREVNet, the national network of Canadian researchers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and governments committed to stop bullying.