Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Mom’s 'Bully Free' Facebook site draws a crowd

School district working on connecting with parents, opening up discussion

Parents who are worried about bullying at schools are to meet this month to discuss what to do about the issue.

The meeting follows the incredible response to a Facebook site started by a Squamish mother after her son was bullied last year at school.

"I was completely overwhelmed," said Bianca Peters of the reaction to the Facebook site, Bully Free Howe Sound.

"I thought there would be some response but I did not anticipate the response I received."

Peters said at the end of the school year she couldn't decide whether or not to just put the bullying issue behind her as her son got ready to enter high school or continue to fight what she sees as an ineffectual process at the school district level for dealing with it.

But a couple of year end incidents including, said Peters, her son being assaulted during a class trip and a report card home questioning the son's behaviour tipped Peter's decision to stay involved with the issue.

She placed an ad in a local paper and directed people to the site. Within just a few weeks more than 70 people had joined, and people continue to take part in the website.

Peters has decided that it is time to get the concerned people together to see what the next steps should be.

"I have put out an invitation to all and they have expressed an interest in meeting and we are going to meet Aug. 10 in Squamish at the Tantalus Senior Centre," she said.

"Basically, on the agenda, is to meet each other and I think what we need to do is put down what our goals are and once we figure out what those goals are I think we should speak to the school district and then implement them."

Peters is frustrated with the way the Sea to Sky School District deals with parents on the issue.

She wanted to meet with the parents of the student doing the bullying. The district agreed to do so inside a Restorative Justice model.

In Peter's case she said this did not work.

The school district's Director of Instruction, Rose MacKenzie, said there is zero tolerance for bullying behaviour in the district and that kids know what the behviour looks like.

But she added: "...Kids know what bullying is. Kids just don't know what to do with it and so the areas we have to work on are, one, working with parents and, two, creating a culture of caring in the classrooms.

"We don't really know exactly what is effective, but one of the concerns I do have is believing that having a hard line is going to stop it, because it won't. That type of child will just go underground and they will become more angry and that doesn't help the situation either."

She added that the school district must also work on connecting with parents on the issue.

The Sea to Sky School District is watching the Facebook site carefully and is looking forward to meeting with Peters and others on the issue, said MacKenzie.

"This has given us reason to have an open and frank discussion with students, teachers, parents and the community members," said MacKenzie.

"So now we are ready to work with the community on this."

For Peters the Facebook site has brought home more than ever that bullying is an issue that affects everyone and the Sea to Sky region is not immune to its effects.

"After seeing the stories on the Facebook site I will not let those children down," she said.