By on November 21, 2012

Students at Osoyoos Secondary School (OSS) have joined the growing movement to try and reduce and eventually eliminate bullying.
Members of the school’s student parliament arranged a series of activities during “We are the Change Week” to coincide with National Anti-Bullying Week across Canada.
Following the recent suicide of B.C. teenager Amanda Todd, the profile relating to all of the issues surrounding the various forms of bullying has never been more pronounced in this country. Todd’s tragic death at the age of 15 has had a profound impact on children and parents across this province, throughout Canada and many other parts of the world.
When a beautiful young girl with seemingly everything to live for felt she had no other recourse but to end her life after what was reportedly years and years of constant abuse, the time has come to talk about this serious problem and try and find solutions.
OSS student parliament prime minister Jenna Riznek said having the week labelled as “We are the Change” is an attempt to place a positive spin on a week that is usually associated with negativity.
The parliament organized a full week’s worth of activities for the student body, including selling special bracelets that come with a link directing them to an anti-bullying website, a workshop to promote peace by making tie-dyed shirts, having members of the student parliament writing letters of postivie affirmation and posting them on lockers and an “All Pink Day.”
Having students wear pink has become a national symbol of tolerance and school children around the world now wear pink as a unified voice against bullying.
During the crucial years spent in elementary and high school, young people are still discovering what kind of people they are and what makes them tick.
Most of them want nothing more than to fit in and be popular.
It’s during these crucial development years that their spirit can be crushed and devastated when they become yet another victim of bullying.
The more this issue is discussed and the more active students become involved in trying to come up with solutions, the better things are going to become for the hundreds of thousands of young people who are victimized by bullies.
School boards have started to implement policies that clearly define that any form of bullying – be it physical, verbal or anonymously through cyber bullying – will not be tolerated and those responsible will be harshly punished.
Politicians are even starting to discuss the possibility of creating new laws to deal with bullying and how to best punish those responsible.
Police have launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Todd’s death and have already stated that criminal charges may be laid.
No one should have to live in fear of being taunted, embarrassed, humiliated, physically assaulted or mentally harassed just because of the way they look, the clothes they wear, the friends they hang with or music they listen to.
Those who commit these offences and derive satisfaction from being a bully know exactly what they’re doing.
Many of them suggest it’s harmless fun and a part of growing up.
That’s simply not the case as more and more victims, like Todd, feel they have nothing to live for and take drastic action.
Because the extent of bullying has become so prevalent and there are so many young victims, this problem is not going to be eliminated overnight. It’s going to take a concerted effort by parents, politicians, school administrators and teachers to deal with this issue and come up with viable solutions.
But the biggest and most important players in trying to come up with solutions are going to be other young people.
We congratulate all OSS students involved in “We are the Change Week” activities and hope this is another step forward in helping reduce the serious problem that has negatively impacted so many young lives for far too long.

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