It’s about time.
The federal government has pledged $250,000 to fund a Red Cross anti-bullying program through the Department of Canadian Heritage. While details of the program are difficult to find and fairly vague at this point, it seems the program will see 2,400 youth aged 13 to 17 trained by Red Cross on how to deliver anti-bullying workshops.
Conrad Sauvé, secretary general and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross, has said that “The Red Cross has been working for many years in Canada to engage youth and harness their leadership to prevent bullying and harassment.”
This is a great plan. Not only will it hopefully go towards combating the growing problem that is bullying, it will help make leaders out of young people, something we think everyone is in favour of.
There is also solid theory being the program’s plan of attack. Who better to tackle the problem of bullying than young people themselves?
Interestingly, Lacombe recently beat the federal government to the punch in using such an approach. While he was still at the helm of the Lacombe Police Service, former Chief Gary Leslie asked Grade 6 students at the annual Mayor for a Day event to help him devise an anti-bullying strategy by sharing their ideas on how to deal with the problem.
It seems like a simple and straightforward idea, but we think that Lacombe should be commended for getting there before anyone else. As Leslie said, the kids are the ones this issue affects, they should have some kind of say in how it is dealt with.
In our opinion, it’s about time someone actually tried to get the kids themselves involved in the fight against bullying. Children have usually been the ones causing and falling victim to bullying, therefore it makes sense that they should be involved in the solution as well.
For years, we have tried telling children about the bullies, the bullied and the bystanders. However, those messages always came from adults. Getting youth actively involved in an anti-bullying program is an approach that hasn’t really been tried until now.
In theory, having youth directly involved with working towards a bullying solution seems to be the most effective way to prevent bullying. It’s a shame that it took so long for someone to realize this approach. Now, we can only wait and hope that it works.