A committee is working to define Summerland as a bully-free community.
While anti-bullying messages have been given at the schools for many years, Tina Martin, a member of the committee, would like to see it go further.
She said she would like to see a code of conduct for the entire community.
“We need to be more vocal, more accountable for our actions,” she said.
School trustee Linda Van Alphen said the anti-bullying message needs to go to the entire community.
“Our students have a finer definition of what bullying is,” she said. “Often, adults don’t recognize bullying.”
In 2009, Trevor Knowlton, a teacher at Summerland Secondary School and a member of the committee, launched the StopaBully.com website to enable students and parents to safely report incidents of school bullying. The site is now used by schools across Canada and has gained national attention.
Despite the anti-bullying messages which have long been in place in the schools and despite initiatives such as StopaBully.com, there are still reports of bullying in Summerland and across Canada.
Still, Martin believes the problem of bullying can be addressed.
“I think every person has good intentions and a good heart,” she said. “We can overcome these things.”
Van Alphen said it is important to define the effort as striving to become bully-free, realizing the problem cannot be stopped immediately.
Martin said defining Summerland as a community which will not tolerate bullying will make it easier for the community to address the problem.
She and others on the committee will work to raise awareness of bullying.
Ideas suggested so far have included a community forum, a pink t-shirt day, presentations on bullying and more.
The next meeting will be on Nov. 26 at 4 p.m. at Summerland Secondary School.
Martin would like to see more people involved with the anti-bully initiative.
Those interested can contact her at 250-404-0301.