One of the fastest and most effective ways of stopping bullying from happening is by reporting it, which is why StopABully.ca started, to give another avenue to students who have been victims, says a board member with the organization.
Sandra Sellick, who has also served as a principal and vice principal for 25 years, said there is a stigma about reporting bullying, so the organization has set up a website where students, parents, staff or other bystanders can anonymously report bullying that they see or have been a victim of.
“Reporting online takes away that stigma of going to the office and that mythology that you are going to be worse off if you report what is happening,” said Sellick. Reporting bullying is very important because typically it takes years before a victim actually comes forward to report it when it could have been prevented much earlier, she said.
When a report is made, the details of the incident are sent to the school that the incident happened at. If the school has already registered on the site, which many have already, the report is sent directly to the contact person at the school, either the principal or a counsellor.
If the school has not registered with StopABully, a volunteer from the organization will reach out to the school, find the appropriate contact and tell them how to access the report, which is encrypted and only available for specific school staff to see.
Currently there are schools from every province registered with the site and from two of the three territories. The website was started in 2009 by a teacher from B.C. Since its inception it has had 479 incident reports and more than 900 schools have registered. In the 2013-14 school year, nearly 140,000 people visited the website.
To raise awareness of the organization and the website, StopABully.ca has started the Pink Wrist Campaign, in which they distribute pink wristbands to students across the country. The bands have the name of the organization and the web address on it. More than 130,000 wristbands have now been distributed to teens across Canada.
“It has been a great way to give kids access to our URL and it always helps promote a culture in which bullying is not tolerated,” said Sellick.
For more information about the organization or to make a report about an incident in any school across Canada, visit www.stopabully.ca.
More information on the Pink Wrist campaign can be found at www.pinkwrist.ca