Schools have programs, information sessions, pamphlets, etc on the effects of bullying. Many larger schools enforce a "no tolerance" on bullying policy, but it is hard for teachers and principals to control what is happening at home and through social media and the internet. Sometimes verbal and mental harassment (bullying) has a bigger impact on people than physical bullying. It is torture to the person who is on the receiving end of bullying. . Adolescents who are being bullied will shut down, dropped out of activities they like to do, stop going to their favorite places, avoid people, become withdrawn, do poorly in school, gain or lose weight, become depressed and to the extreme, may even commit suicide.
Bullying is not the total responsibility of the school system or even the police. We do not have enough police to regulate bullying unless it comes to an extreme case of harassment or injury. The school system can only control bullying during school hours and it is difficult to monitor and regulate. I think in order to eliminate bullying - we need to get to the root of the problem. Why do people bully? Research tells us people who bully have low self-esteem maybe from the social-economic environment they are in. Bullies often come from homes where there is a lot of fighting and yelling and abuse. Some people bully because they have been bullied themselves. Bullies have low self-esteem so in order to make themselves feel better , they bully others and often have their "pack of friends" to edge them on. Does it really make them feel better? Are they happy people? I think they are likely not happy at all. Kids learn from good role models so families must ensure that we as the younger generation have good examples to follow. Perhaps it starts at home. If you are a parent who thinks that it is not bullying and just a little teasing or fun, think again. Bullying can destroy a person's life, cause people to make bad decisions, or worst, lead to mental depression where coping with ordinary things become too difficult and eventually death from illness or suicide.
It seems that every cause has a well-known celebrity or athlete, who acts as a spokes person to raise awareness about their cause. Perhaps in PEI, we need to find a high profile, well known person who has been bullied and overcame the impacts of bullying to become a success in life. They can be a spokesperson against bullying and visit schools to talk about their situation. I recently took Driver's Ed and the instructor brought in victims from accidents to demonstrate the implications of drinking & driving. A program could show both sides : a highly successful person who was bullied and how they coped and on the other side: a police officer or therapists who can explain a situation where the outcome was not so good.
In schools, perhaps we should have the so called "bully" present his or hers thoughts in front of a school assembly explaining why they bully and how it makes them feel OR instead of suspension, the bully has to go to therapy or a school counselor. That could be the extreme because it could back-fire. I really think we need to dig deep and find out what underlying problems make a person bully others. WE would actually be helping the bully to get their life back on track and not be another abuser, criminal, etc in the future. Perhaps it is not the bully's fault - maybe it's a situation that has caused it. Let's do what we can to help bullies help themselves and put an end to bullying in PEI.