In late October, Riverside collaborated with the bullying foundation I am Someone to put posters around the school. The posters can be found in the stalls of the bathrooms, and on the landing of the main staircase, right under student’s feet. One of the images reads, “She pushed me, out of our friend group,” in the form of a smashed mirror, and the other reads “Just Joking,” in the shape of a barb wire fence. The two posters both reveal that bullying isn’t always seen very clearly; it is sometimes hidden in forms that many wouldn’t consider bullying. The posters inform students that if they are unsure whether a certain situation is bullying or not, to text 211 (a 24-hour line) to receive help or to go to www.bullyingornot.ca for more information on bullying.
The purpose of the posters is to get students to know about the resources the foundation has and for I am Someone to make referrals for students to people that can help. The school has been in several conversations with the I am Someone foundation; they approach Principal Anthony Ciolfitto about once or twice a year and they ask about things they can do to ‘ make sure students are aware of support and resources if they’re having a tough time with peers or adults. “They approached me again this year and asked if we could participate in kind of a one-month trial with them to put posters around,” said Ciolfitto. He explained that if there are students at Riverside who are feeling bullied or harassed in any way and they don’t know who to go to, I am Someone is another service for them to receive help from.
Students at Riverside voiced their opinions on what possible effects they believe these posters may have on Riverside students. “I think that it really helps to walk around the posters and to see that you have options. And even if most people don’t notice them, the students who need help would notice, and helping one person could make all the difference,” said grade 9 student, Ryann McCready. “I have seen the posters everywhere from school to even around the mall. I personally think the posters could be very helpful to students that are scared or that need help when it comes to bullying. It gives students a safe place to go and seek help no matter what time it is,” said Denisa Olpretean, a grade 12 student.
64% of teens from grade 8 to 10 have been bullied at school according to http://www.stopabully.ca, making organizations like I am Someone necessary to help teens with any problems they may have. Foundations like Pink Shirt Day and the Amanda Todd Legacy have assisted many students with any situations they may be caught up in, giving them the full opportunity to live a life without bullying.
If you or anyone you know is being bullied, please text 211 for help.