Have you ever bullied someone?
Do you sometimes attack or bully others?
Do you know what violence is?
Violence is the use of force with the intent to hurt someone. It can take many forms: it can be verbal (insults, yelling); written (text messages, e-mails, etc.); physical (hitting, injuring); psychological (threatening or putting someone down, gossiping, excluding someone); material (stealing or breaking something belonging to another person); or sexual (language or behaviour that is inappropriate, embarrassing, humiliating, etc.).
Violence, when it occurs, is no accident. Someone can be attacked for many reasons: the perpetrator may want to make his or her friends laugh, gain social status, or frighten, threaten or dominate another person.
Acts of violence can traumatize not only the victims, but witnesses and peers as well. Violence can be experienced as outright aggression or threats, or as actions intended to dominate, oppress or even cause physical harm. There are also different degrees of violence, each of which can harm an individual physically, socially, materially and psychologically, or undermine his or her rights and freedoms.
Do you know what bullying is?
Bullying is when a person or a group of people insults, humiliates or excludes someone, hits or threatens them, or steals or breaks something of theirs. Bullying can be done to someone’s face or behind their back, on the Web, through text messaging or on the phone. It’s no accident; nor is it teasing or joking, because it’s no laughing matter. It’s not just bickering or some disagreement between friends that ends and is soon forgotten. It happens over and over again. When someone’s being bullied, they can feel afraid and alone. They feel powerless and defenceless around the person, or persons, hurting them. And they don’t know how to make the bullying stop.
Some people who bully others do it to impress their friends, or make them laugh. Others do it because they are jealous or want to get back at someone. Did you know that it’s possible to impress your friends and express your frustrations without harming others? Go see a school psychologist, school counsellor, social worker, or some other specialist in your school. They will tell you how to move forward. You have to find other ways of acting because bullying is something that will harm you in the end. Like everyone else, you are responsible for:
- treating others with respect
- recognizing each person’s right to be different
- accepting the decisions of others even if you don’t agree with them
- stopping when someone tells you “no” or “stop”
- finding better anger management strategies
- telling someone if you know that someone else is being abused
- asking for help if you find something unacceptable
If you find it hard to deal with frustration and to stop yourself from lashing out against other students or adults, ask for help from a psychologist, school counsellor, social worker, school administrator, or trusted adult.
Don’t forget that the Education Act now has provisions to prevent and stop bullying and violence in schools and that, if you continue bullying others or mistreating them, you could face serious consequences.
What kind of consequences are in store for those who bully or use violence?
All forms of violence or bullying are unacceptable. Punishments or other measures based on the seriousness of the actions involved are generally provided for in the school’s code of behaviour
(e.g. reparations, expulsion from class, suspension in or outside the school, expulsion from the school or school board).
Violence, bullying and cyberaggression can also be violations of the Criminal Code. Using violence or threats of violence with the intention of forcing someone to do or refrain from doing something is a criminal act. So is contacting someone repeatedly in a way that makes them fear for their safety. Publishing or spreading false information about someone, or information that could hurt their reputation or expose them to hatred, contempt or ridicule can sometimes be a crime too.
Cyberagression can also contravene the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms when it leads to hatred or to discrimination based on ethnic background, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, family situation, or a physical or mental handicap. For committing acts of violence, bullying or cyberaggression, a person can face legal consequences.
Did you know that the Québec government has passed a law to prevent and stop bullying and violence in schools?