December 17th is not a very remarkable day. It is 8 days before Christmas. It is two weeks before the end of the year. But otherwise, except to those whose birthday’s fall on that date, it is fairly unremarkable. Robert Frennette has set out to change that. He has started a national petition to have December 17th declared as “Blue Day.” On Blue Day everyone would be encouraged to wear blue, in support of anti-bullying initiatives and to raise awareness of the problem of bullying.
Robert, and co-founder Katie Neu, started the bullyingcanada.ca website (initially under a different name) on December 17th, 2006. They were both bullied all through grade school and decided it was time to take matters into their own hands and put a stop to bullying. They needed to help other children and youth, and so the website was born. It is the first of its kind, a youth run website for youth, dealing with youth issues and offering support to those who find themselves in bullying situations.
The website is for students, parents, and the general public, and it exists to educate people on what bullying is, the effect it has on both victim and bully as well as ways to deal with bullying. For anyone who finds him or herself being bullied the site offers these suggestions:
- Walk away
- Tell someone you trust
- Take the initiative to get help
- Say something complimentary to the bully to distract them- Stay in groups to avoid confrontation
- Use humour to deflect the situation
- Never let the bully see you sweat
- Practice self affirmation (i.e. I am a nice person)
And the site offers up suggestions for those who find themselves bullying others:
- Talk to a teacher/counsellor
- Put yourself in their shoes
- Stop the cycle
- Think before you act
These tips are based on a study that was conducted at the high school from which Robert graduated, he started an Anti-Bullying committee there and this committee conducted the study that yielded these results.
Their cause is an important one, and anyone who wants to help or to find out more about Blue Day or the website can contact Robert or Katie. Just check out www.BullyingCanada.ca, there are all kinds of resources, and you can even get a copy of the petition and get it signed by the people in your neighbourhood, school or workplace. Bullying is not just something we deal with as kids, it also exists at the home, in the workplace and on the street. Robert is right, it’s time there was a day set aside for us to turn out minds to this issue and find ways to fix the problem.
On December 17th, wear blue in support of Robert and Katie’s Anti-Bullying project. Blue Day may someday be a nationally recognized day, and for now we can show our support by taking part, and raising awareness about bullying.