🇨🇦 How This 15-Year-Old Diana Award Recipient’s Family Tragedy Inspired Her to Help Others

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“Everyone of us needs to show how much we care for each other and, in the process, care for ourselves.” ~ Princess Diana

Bailey DunbarBailey Dunbar👼 is only 15 years old, but she’s already seen more tragedy than many face in a lifetime. Her twin sister, Morgan, 263d022c92752ed6e2b035b1410bf332committed suicide when they were just 13 years old after her sister was targeted by bullieslittle devil

Two years later, the  Fort Saskatchewan, Canada,  native is channeling her loss into something powerful. She’s now honoring Morgan’s memory by fighting bullying and cyber-bullying,  and working on raising mental health awareness among young people.

Bailey👼 is leading the charge on anti-bullying  with her organization, Morgan’s Memorial Mission SocietyThe group engages in volunteer work to combat bullying and encourage kindness and inclusivity — and won aCrown2Untitled-2Diana Award for her efforts last year. Crown2The Diana Award🌹 is given out in the late Crown2Princess Diana’s🌹 name to young role models, ages 9-18 from across the world who are transforming the lives of others. (To nominate a young changemaker for this year’s Diana Award, which will be presented at a ceremony in London this May, click here.)

Dunbar👼 faced bullies little devil of her own after her sister’s death. After Morgan’s suicide, one of the bullies little devil who had tormented her turned his attention towards Bailey👼 . The abuse got so bad, that at a point, her parents were forced Albert-Einstein-albert-einstein-genius-smiley-emoticon-000718-facebookto get the police 👮involved, she says. The bully little devil was later made to apologize and stop contacting Bailey.👼

Seeing the treatment her sister suffered through her own eyes, Bailey👼 was inspired to make a change. She founded Morgan’s Memorial Mission Society, and with the help of her mom, she was granted official non-profit status.

“After I experienced what it was like to be bullied,  I finally understood why you wouldn’t MISSION MEMORIAL SOCIETYwant to go to school or go out,” Bailey 👼  says. “I decided to take action because after having my own experience, I realized it’s not okay.

“A lot of people are insecure about themselves, and they’ll take it out on other people instead of talking about it.”

Morgan’s Mission Memorial Society has been involved in several projects that hope to spark conversation about bullying, mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Bailey👼 has hosted a benefit concert with Robb Nash, done multiple events with Project Semicolon, smilie king newanother suicide prevention and mental health organization, in her hometown of   Edmonton and around Alberta, Canada,  and spoke out about her own bullying  story and losing her sister on “Beautiful Me Day.”

She’s also been working with local government officials, as well as the  Canadian ministers of health, education and justice, to help create anti-bullying legislation in the country. Bailey👼 worked with Fort Saskatchewan Mayor Gale Katchur and Jessica Littlewood, a member of the legislative assembly, on a proclamation for World Suicide Prevention Day in the town in 2015.

“They were shocked that at such a young age, that I’m doing all of this to change how people see mental illness and bullying” she said of her experience working with the government ministers.

smiley-king-23118707Also in her hometown, Bailey,👼 along with a committee of local parents, has created a “Protective Guardian” award, which is given to a student or young person who has actively worked against bullying  in their school or community.

Leading an organization that encourages kindness and inclusivity made Bailey👼 a perfect fit for the Crown2Diana Award,🌹 which she received in 2016.Crown2 The Diana Award 🌹 also created National Kindness Day, celebrated on March 31, in the late royal’s honor.

How Princess Diana Inspired Her Friend to Change the World

KINDNESS DAY AWARD 2016

Newton Abbot College Awarded Anti-Bullying Accolade

Prince William Fights Bullying for Charity in Princess Diana’s Name

Making History ~ Prince William Meets Attitude

ANTI-BULLYING SHOWCASE AT FACEBOOK LONDON


The New Bullying Prevention © 2017

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Cyberbullying: Our Children, Our Problem

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“Don’t you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are.” – Lady Gaga 

the big bang4LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) — Now with school starting back up, there is an option for schools and PTAs to help combat bullying.

The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office is making available a training DVD on the dangers of bullying, especially online.

There are 1,000 copies available to teachers, school administrators, school resource officers, PTA 3_3_1091or PTO groups . All they have to do is request one.

They can Email jvickers@bedfordsheriff.org to request a DVD or click here for more information.

Cyberbullying: Our Children, Our Problem can be completed in 30-45 minutes. This powerful interactive learning experience challenges parents and educators to connect with the teens in their lives. By building resilience and interpersonal skills, adults can help foster bully-free online environments both at school and at home.

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Donny Osmond reveals years of bullying torment but says he’s “the last one laughing”

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The boyband superstar says he has been mocked his entire life for his “family, health and moral code”

He has been in showbiz for more than 50 years, is a healthy, happily-married grandfather who wows an army of fans at his regular show in Las Vegas.

donny&michael.jpgBut, despite all this success, Donny Osmond’s glowing, mahogany skin doesn’t seem any thicker than it was when he was the first boyband superstar.

“I was 14 or 15, doing my gig, and it’s working. I’m one of the biggest teeny boppers in the world, and Rolling Stone magazine comes out with an article which says ‘the worst day in rock’n’roll history was 35401the day Donny Osmond was born,” he recalls, sounding angry and a bit sad, even now.

“A teenager is just trying to figure out who he is, let alone having that. That’s the ultimate bullying. It really hurt me.”

Donny stole the show in The Osmonds and became a solo star, singing hits like Puppy Love with doe eyes which bewitched the teenies of his day.

But he was sneered at for his bubblegum pop and when his career flopped when he hit his twenties, his fans all grown up, he found himself in the wilderness.

th_emoticons_aduSeeing him mocked for his no smoking, no drinking, no drugs, squeaky-clean image – the result of his strict Mormon religion – pal Michael Jackson even suggested he change his name.

Today, though, Donny insists he is glad he wasn’t cool – because he is the one still going strong.

going-strongHis troubled peers Jackson and Prince, he says, ended up looking to him for guidance on how to live a happy life.

Donny, 58, says: “I remember having long conversations with Prince at Paisley Park. He was interested in the details of my life, my family. Michael was the same way.

“One of the things I pride myself on is normalcy in a world which is anything but normal. And I think they were completely interested in how I balanced my life. Those guys couldn’t.

MP3 player smiley face“Maybe they were looking to me for guidance. I’ve been married 38 years – that is a little unusual in showbiz. Five wonderful sons. Eight wonderful grandbabies. It was satisfying. I had my personal life together. The things people mock keep me stable.

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“It’s very easy to lose it mentally and get caught up in your own hype. I was one of the biggest teeny boppers back in the day and that can really mess up your mind.”

With more than a hint of glee in his voice, he adds: “I’ve been made fun of my entire life about things like family, my health code and moral code. And it’s like: ‘In your face everybody, I’m the last one laughing. I’m the last one standing.”

It certainly feels that way in a year when legends are dropping like flies.

Donny might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, but his success is unarguable. He has been performing his show with sister Marie in Vegas for almost eight years and his 4502306-two-smiling-balls-having-fun-and-enjoying-each-others-companyanniversary The Soundtrack of My Life tour sells out.

He says he’s in great health. “I’m always working out, I’m very careful what I eat. The Mormon lifestyle helped me because I don’t smoke or drink. I’m really very, very careful,” he says.

He is, though, getting over bronchitis when we talked.

But he shrugs and puts that down to the relentless meet-and-greets he regularly attends after his shows.

Donny says his 38-year marriage to Debbie, 57, plays a big part in his happiness. They wed in 1978 when he was 20 and they still enjoy date nights at home in Utah.

just-donny“I could spend eight days a week in Vegas but I’ve got a jet and I can be home in an hour,” he says. “It’s a very fast-paced lifestyle but in order to keep my personal life together, which I treasure, I do it. I won’t let anything get in the way of that.

We are still madly in love with each other, we go on dates all the time. I know it sounds childish.”

emoticon gif animated smile glitter 56Commenting on another peer, Tom Jones, who notoriously cheated on his late wife, he says:

“His wife must have been a saint. I would never have put up with anything like that. Fidelity is the most important thing you can possibly have in a relationship. Without that there goes your trust…… continue reading »»»»»»

  Article  posted 20 June 2016 by Emily Retterwpengine4

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Researchers Analyze Effectiveness of Bullying Prevention Programs

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A group of Canadian researchers have set out to analyse the effectiveness of bullying prevention programs in schools, finding that they would ultimately only recommend one of the programs out of seven studied.

Canadian-flag-background-for-Canada-map (2)Researchers at Dalhousie University have analysed the effectiveness of bullying prevention programs with the aim of improving lives for Nova Scotia children, and saving money for the province’s school boards.

Mac-mac-apple-busy-smiley-emoticon-000712-facebook“We’re hoping to better inform educational institutions about effective bullying prevention initiatives so that adolescents are better equipped to deal with bullying and peer victimization,” says Dr. John LeBlanc, associate professor of pediatrics at Dalhousie Medical School and staff pediatrician at the IWK Health Centre.

The analysis, which has been delivered to school boards across the province and Canada in the form of a toolkit, can also be used to better streamline resources dedicated to school-based bullying prevention programs.

“Currently, schools implement bullying  smileys-applaus-485909 prevention strategies without clearly knowing whether or not they’ll provide good value for the precious human and financial resources devoted to them,” says Dr. LeBlanc. “Our analysis was done to help schools – and other organizations working with youth – evaluate these programs with respect to effectiveness, cost, and overall fit.”

The team reviewed seven popular bullying prevention programs; some are used in Nova Scotia schools, and others were identified through a search of scientific literature. Of the seven, only one – WITS – could be recommended.

playing-golf-smiley-emoticon“WITS stands for walk away, ignore, talk it out, and seek help,” explains Ashley Chisholm, master’s candidate in the Department of Community Health & Epidemiology. “We found that WITS delivers stronger effects than other programs at a lower cost, and shows long‐term benefits. The program also has components that promote healthy relationships.”

The other six programs were resource‐intensive, yet delivered little or no reduction in bullying perpetration or victimization.

“These programs require hundreds or thousands of dollars in up-front costs for materials and trainers, in addition to the time put in by teachers and students that could be spent on the curriculum,” says Tanya Bilsbury, master’s candidate at the School of Public Administration. “Yet, we found that the actual effects of evidence-based programs were often very small or even absent.”

tablet“Of course, there will always be a place for individual and group strategies for those who bully or who are bullied,” says Dr. LeBlanc. “These targeted strategies can build upon school-wide programs that focus on creating safe and respectful climates, and programs that help youth develop their social and emotional skills.”

“This toolkit is a very useful aid to schools and others seeking to prevent bullying and cyberbullying, and the many negative consequences of this bullying,” says Dr. Wayne MacKay, former chair of the Nova Scotia Task Force on Bullying and Cyberbullying. “It’s clearly based on a thorough analysis of the evidence.”

Article posted by Allison Gerrard  May 13, 2016 provide by Dalhousie University for medicalxpress.com

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School climate key to preventing bullying

Gay Indigenous Liberal candidate is more than just a wedge, he says


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Study Finds That Homophobic People Are Actually More Likely To Be Gay

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Homophobia is more pronounced in individuals with an unacknowledged attraction to the same sex and who grew up with authoritarian parents who forbade such desires, a series of psychology studies demonstrates.

923004_10151331384711890_1479766938_nokEureka to actually hear or read it from a professional stand point as with these professionals at the University of Rochester in New York, the University of California and the University of Essex discovered through  psychological tests that individuals who identify as straight, often showed a strong attraction to the same sex, which I have many times over the years justified, (with reason, authoritarian parents ) that most of the hatred that was directed at me was not due of my sexuality at all but rather the realization that my sexuality represented the dark side of their own sexuality was what they really had issues of hatred dealing with or coming to terms with, not my sexuality, rightly so because 90% did eventually in a round about way bring it up in conversation or exited the closet. My many thanx for your hard work and research. In closing, through my own experiences and a life time of observations, I agree 100% with your findings. Terry.K 

stop-homophobia-d76466947A study has found that people who display homophobic tendencies are more likely to be gay.

Teams at the University of Rochester in New York, the University of California and the University of Essex found that individuals who identify as straight, often showed a strong attraction to the same sex in psychological tests.

Netta Weinstein, a lecturer at the University of Essex and the study’s lead author, said that

These individuals “may be threatened by gays and lesbians because homosexuals remind them of similar tendencies within themselves”.

The study analysed four separate experiments conduced in the US and Germany, which provided evidence that homophobia is in fact ‘external manifestation of repressed sexual desires’.

tumblr_n7vgfoXGtE1sp6e2vo1_r1_250Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester in New York, said that: “People who have homophobic attitudes, who are more prejudice or discriminatory against gay people, are themselves more likely to have a discrepancy between their unconscious attractions to same-sex partners than what they are aware of.

“Those people who have such discrepancies, who have really a split between their unconscious attraction and what they consciously say about themselves, are more likely to come from authoritarian homes.”

“If you are a parent who really believes your child should be straight, and when you use whatever means you can to convince them that they’re only good and worthy if they are, that would be very controlling and it creates a lot of conflict in the child.”

Professor Ryan concludes that the way that children process and resolve this information is yes-smileyto act out in a discriminatory or hateful way towards gay and lesbian people.

It’s hoped that the findings might help to explain the dynamics behind bullying and hate crimes.


Article for The Huffington Post UK by Sophie Brown ~ Posted: Jan 17, 2015


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Gay Men’s Chorus of L.A. Honors Ridgewood’s Tyler Clementi Foundation

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THAT “LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR” THING… I MEANT THAT..GOD

20026The Tyler Clementi Foundation was created in honour of a Rutgers student who committed suicide after his roommate outed him as gay.
The Tyler Clementi Foundation was honoured by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles recently with the 2014 Inspiration Award at the GMCLA Voice Awards.

The award is given to individuals who have transformed a difficult personal experience into a positive force of hope and change, Michelle Clunie from the show “Queer As Folk” said at the awards ceremony.

Clementi killed himself in 2010 by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after his Rutgers University roommate posted a encounter of Clementi and another man on the Internet.

54016a1c520d0fcb623d099136bb5a083dec91dd_t6de63586-18f0-4260-8c02-639e0574612aPresenter George Takei said that Joe and Jane Clementi, and their foundation, has accomplished in the nearly five years since Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge in 2010 “deeply inspirational.”

“Somehow, as they struggled with personal grief, these individuals were able to turn their attention to helping other young people, like Tyler,” Takei said.

The Clementis posted a statement on the foundation’s website: ”Thank you for giving us a voice and platform on the west coast to share Tyler’s story and help heal the pain of bullying known by too many.

“Thank you so much to George, Michelle, Steven, Justin and Sierra for your friendship and support. We are so grateful and humbled.”

The foundation rolled out a new campaign this month called Day 1.

“What we’re trying to do is end online and offline bullying – in schools, workplaces, and faith communities,” said Sean Kosofsky, head of the foundation.
Superman-Superman-man-of-steel-Clark-Kent-smiley-emoticon-001040-facebookDay 1 encourages people to stand up on their first day of work, school, or any new social situation and promise to not treat anybody differently because of who they love, how they dress, or what their body looks like.

The Clementi Family accepts a Voice Award from the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. The Tyler Clementi Foundation was created to prevent tragedies like Tyler’s by putting an end to online and offline bullying. GMCLA honors the Clementi Family for transforming their personal tragedy into action.

Article By DANIEL HUBBARD (Patch Staff) June 23, 2015

Beautiful: Columbus Children’s Choir and the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus

The Columbus Children’s Choir and the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus from Ohio join together to raise their voices for the It Gets Better campaign. Reflect as they sing the lyrics, “Cause we are beautiful no matter what they say. Yes, words won’t bring us down” Please support the It Gets Better Project and The Trevor Project.


L, B, G and T are different communities — communities in a big, diverse and complex world of communities. We deserve to be treated as such, not lumped together as “Other.” Nancy Ruth

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Wayne Gretzky joins other hockey legends at Toronto event to speak out against bullying

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hockey-team-smiley-emoticon‘What we’re doing here is saving lives and by saving lives, we’re giving kids hope. Bullies are cowards’

Hockey great Wayne Gretzky with President of Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames Brian Burke during The 2nd Annual Night for Change in Toronto on June 8, 2015. Kevin Van Paassen for National Post
Hockey great Wayne Gretzky with President of Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames Brian Burke during The 2nd Annual Night for Change in Toronto on June 8, 2015. Kevin Van Paassen for National Post

On the ice, they were used to avoiding and dishing out violence, but at a Toronto residence Monday, a group of former NHL players joined together to speak out against it.

The Canadian Safe Schools Network hosted its second annual Night for Change with Calgary Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke at the home of hockey fan Mike Wilson. Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan and former players Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey were also on hand to lend their support.

“What we’re doing here is saving lives and by saving lives, we’re giving kids hope,” said Wilson. “Bullies are cowards. It’s despicable and it can be dealt with.”

Burke has been raising awareness about bullying and homophobia since his son Brendan, who came out as being gay, died in a car accident in 2010.

smileys-cz-2Burke said he was never bullied himself because he “would fight at the drop of a hat,” but remembers seeing a mentally disabled boy being victimized at high school.

“They threw his books on the ground and kicked him,” Burke said. “I had to stick up for him and I ended up throwing a kid through a display case window.”

Hockey great Wayne Gretzky has his picture taken with a fan as president of Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames Brian Burke looks on during The 2nd Annual Night for Change in Toronto on June 8, 2015. Kevin Van Paassen for National Post.
Hockey great Wayne Gretzky has his picture taken with a fan as president of Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames Brian Burke looks on during The 2nd Annual Night for Change in Toronto on June 8, 2015. Kevin Van Paassen for National Post.

Monday’s event served as a fundraiser for the Canadian Safe Schools Network, a charity that works to reduce youth violence and make schools safer for students. More than 60 guests paid $1,000 each to attend, and a silent auction drew in tens of thousands in donations. The winning bid to play golf with Gretzky was $15,000.

icehockeypuckAs a player, Gretzky was never known to resort to violence on the ice, and he developed a reputation for his leadership and politeness. He said he’s taught his five children to be the same way.

“I always told my kids: you treat kids with respect,” Gretzky said. “I’m so proud of the fact that if you met my kids, you’d walk away saying they’re very polite, and that’s the proudest thing you can say as a parent.”

Gretzky said he was never bullied as a child, but noted that social media has it easier for more children to be victimized.

“I always say to my kids, life is tougher now with social media,” he said. “It’s hard on parents and it’s hard on kids.”

Burke, who will serve as the grand marshal in the Calgary Pride parade, said he saw some of the negative reaction on social media, even from athletes, when Michael Sam, an openly gay CFL player, was drafted into the NFL.

“There’s stupid people in every workplace,” Burke said. “I saw some of those comments and I feel sorry for people if they’re that stupid.”

Cyberbullying sometimes leads children to commit suicide, and Burke said it breaks his heart every time that happens. There were 41 suicides in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia related to cyberbullying from 2003 to 2012.

“To actually push someone to the point where they take their own lives, I don’t know how these people sleep at night,” he said.

Burke met Wilson at an LBGTQ event. Wilson, a huge hockey fan with a collection of more than 2,000 pieces of memorabilia, approached Burke following a presentation and offered to help the anti-bullying cause.

1010Wilson said he expected the second annual Night for Change will raise more than $100,000. But he said he would rather not see such events, because that would mean bullying had been dealt with.

Burke has also worked to involve the Flames association in his advocacy. Captain Mark Giordano marched in the Pride parade with him last year.

Other NHL players have also become involved. Last year, Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf, former Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis, and Elisha Cuthbert attended the first Night for Change.

“I ask our players to have an accepting workplace, not tolerance,” Burke said. “I hate when people talk about tolerance. You tolerate rain, pedestrians, cats, you don’t tolerate human beings. You accept them.”

smiley-91That’s what he did when his son told him he was gay. Five years after Brendan’s death, Burke knows his son would be proud of him.

“I don’t think Brendan would accept anything less. Irish families stick together. And the fact that he’s no longer with us doesn’t mean we can’t stick together.”

Article for National Post by Victor Ferreira | June 8, 2015

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Bullying victim Amanda Todd’s mom shares her story with Island audience

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What Wisdom can you find that is greater than “Kindness”? *Jean-Jacques Rousseau*

R.I.P Amanda...Carol Todd with her daughter Amanda, who took her own life after a bullying campaign became too much. Photograph by: Submitted , Victoria Times Colonist files
R.I.P Amanda…Carol Todd with her daughter Amanda, who took her own life after a bullying campaign became too much.
Photograph by: Submitted , Victoria Times Colonist files
VICTORIA — Carol Todd said it was on a shopping trip to a Port Coquitlam mall that she realized just how much pain her daughter Amanda was suffering

“She got out of the car, walked to the doors and she couldn’t go in,” Todd said. “She turned white as a sheet and said her stomach hurt. I just stood there and watched her change.

“I had never really believed her until then. I would say something like, ‘Take a sip of water and get on with it.’”

make-up-female-girl-makeup-smiley-eThat trip to the mall was in June 2012, less than six months before Amanda’s Oct. 10, 2012, suicide at the age of 15. Before she died, she made a video and posted it on YouTube, where it’s now been viewed 31 million times. In a series of flash cards, she explained how she had been tricked into revealing her breasts online and subsequently harassed, beaten and socially cast out at school.

Todd was in Sidney, B.C., at the Mary Winspear Centre on Thursday for a musical by the Mountain Dream Production, a drama group of teens and pre-teens. The play, called Like Me! Unlike Me?, was a dramatic call-out to young people to stop harassing and picking on each other.

Two of the actors, Samantha, 13, and Hailey, 11, said they didn’t fully understand just how permanent Internet images and posts are before the play.

“It’s like they are a fingerprint,” Samantha said. “I had sort of thought there was some sort of deep way you could get it out, but no.”

Hailey said the play drove home for her that retaliating when bullied or harassed is just not acceptable. “If someone is being mean to you it doesn’t mean you should be mean back.”

After the play, performed for middle school students, Todd stayed behind to warn the audience about the dangers of cyberbullying and stalking.

Wonderwoman-female-wonder-woman-superhero-smiley-emoticon-000249-large_zps57d43454She is at the end of a six-week tour that has taken her across Canada and to Arizona and Ireland, warning of Internet dangers and discussing Amanda’s story.

At one point, she asked the audience for a show of hands of students who had used a cellphone after 10 p.m., or gone online to play games without their parents knowing. In both cases, more than half raised their hands.

Todd told the young people that both are dangerous habits, and warned of the dangerous anonymity the Internet offers.

The person who first contacted Amanda and coerced her into revealing her breasts had pretended to be a teenager, but was actually a man in his 30s living in the Netherlands. He has since been identified, arrested and jailed.

Todd said she discussed Internet safety with Amanda and even warned that she would check up on her. The family kept computer passwords in an envelope taped to the refrigerator. But it didn’t stop Amanda from being hurt.

Todd told the students not to be afraid to take fears, worries or even bad news to trusted adults. It might be parents, a teacher, someone at church or a youth group. Just don’t suffer alone, she said.

Todd urged the teens to reach out to each other, noting Amanda was harassed, tricked and even beaten by other teens before she killed herself. Changing schools several times didn’t work, since there was always someone, including the original perpetrator, who would put the word out.

Todd also warned the students about the enduring nature of material posted on the Internet.

As they grow up, she said, they will be applying to schools, programs, scholarship committees and for jobs. Almost certainly one of the first things people will do is search online records.

94486_animaatjessmilies09472_4Todd said the Internet is not necessarily a bad thing. But everyone needs to understand, teach and talk about its dangers and how to best use it safely.

“It needs to be in our schools, in our families and our communities.”

In her 15 years, Amanda dealt with learning disabilities, a cyber predator, online bullying, social ostracization, assault, depression and anxiety, Todd said. When she killed herself, it was on World Mental Health Day.

“Amanda had a story and she had a message, and if I stay quiet about it, who is going to tell it?” Todd said. “I’ve always advocated for her as a child with learning needs and I think I’m still advocating for her.”


ARTICLE BY RICHARD WATTS, VICTORIA TIMES COLONIST MAY 30, 2015


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Criminal codes now allow for workplace cyber-bullies to be penalized

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MANAGEMENT & HR

It is important for both employers and employees to know that there are Criminal Code provisions that can be used to penalize online bullies.
It is important for both employers and employees to know that there are Criminal Code provisions that can be used to penalize online bullies.
Unfortunately, society has become accustomed to hearing tragic stories in the news regarding the consequences of cyber-bullying among Canadian youth – with Reahteh Parsons and Amanda Todd still fresh in our minds. While cyber-bullying among teenagers is well documented, less has been written about a growing issue for Canadian adults.

A Pew Research Centre study of October 2014 shows 40 per cent of adult Internet users have personally experienced online harassment, ranging from name-calling and embarrassment to physical threats, stalking and sexual harassment. A spike in the number of arbitration cases dealing with instances of cyber-bullying proves that the problem is spilling over into the workplace and the number of cases is only expected to increase, along with direction from arbitrators.

The Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act was amended in 2010 to provide that employers have obligations to prevent and address violence and harassment in the workplace. Many employers are reluctant to be proactive on speaking to employees about the darker side of human behaviour, but it’s important they do so as there are strict penalties for individuals and corporations who do not comply with the OHSA. It’s therefore imperative employers conduct assessments, create policies‎ and programs, and deliver training to all employees about anti-violence and anti-harassment. Penalties for failure to comply with the OHSA include, for individuals, a fine of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 12 months and a fine of up to $500,000 for corporations.

Untitled-1In one such example of a criminal record being imposed, the Ontario Court of Appeal, in October 2014, convicted a Ashish Dewan of criminal mischief and criminal harassment after he posed separately as a girlfriend and colleague online and made degrading comments about them. Dewan pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five months time served, a suspended sentence and two years probation for the criminal mischief conviction, and two years probation for the criminal harassment conviction.

Labour and employment lawyers are often asked about the extent to which employees can expect privacy with respect to their online conduct inside and outside of work. The short answer is employees should never assume they have an absolute right of privacy in such communications. The Internet can no longer be considered a private medium, particularly insofar as online communications impact the workplace and, importantly, workplace relationships.

This message has yet to sink in with employees, and with potentially criminal consequences, there is a clear and present need for employers to temper any employee expectations of privacy. Employers need clear and communicated policies that emphasize personal use of work IT equipment should be kept to a minimum; elaborate the employer’s right to monitor suspicious activity; and inform employees they can and will be disciplined for improper online conduct that has a “nexus” to work.

Many employees might be reluctant to report comments made outside of the workplace on social media forums for fear of bringing what might seen as a personal issue into work. We encourage workers to voice these concerns and there have been many examples where arbitrators have upheld dismissals in cyber-bullying cases where comments were made outside of work. For example, in Canada Post and CUPE, a postal clerk was dismissed for just cause relating to Facebook posts containing offensive, vulgar and threatening material primarily directed at her supervisors.

8317d01d85e78d9ffe9e8ec5efdf8521The following recommendations to those experiencing cyber-bullying might seem commonsense, but can be easily forgotten when faced with a deeply embarrassing and traumatic situation.

First, do not reply to messages or posts from cyber-bullies and make copies of all such messages or posts (including pictures). Report any concerns to your employer and follow any applicable policies it has. Your co-operation in any employer investigation is crucial in ensuring the cyber-bully is appropriately punished. If the conduct appears to be criminal, do not hesitate to contact the police.

Melanie Warner is a partner in Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s labour and employment group.


Article by Melanie Warner, BLG, Special to Financial Post | April 28, 2015


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Team USA’s Jackie Gilbert on Overcoming Bullying

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You don’t need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are. You are what you are! *John Lennon*


Photo courtesy of Josh Rottman
Photo courtesy of Josh Rottman
Jackie Gilbert recently became the first player from California to be named to the U.S. women’s national team program at any level. But defying the odds to become the lone west coaster on the U.S. women’s under-19 team is not the only obstacle she’s overcome.

In the video below, Gilbert, a high school senior who is committed to the University of Southern California, talks poignantly about her experiences with being bullied as a middle school student and how she channeled her emotions to grow as a lacrosse player and a person. A full transcription follows below.

“In middle school, I think we all go through those awkward stages. I was a little bit of an ugly duckling, kind of awkward. I was in the band. I wasn’t the coolest person.

People in middle school can be really mean. I’ve definitely felt vulnerable to that at times, but it’s just something that has only made me stronger. I was able to harness the hate I was getting and the mean things that were being said to me and I was able to turn that around and make it a motivator.

I really wanted to prove those people wrong and prove that I was worth something, that I wasn’t just someone you could overlook.

That been a main source of that fuel, and when I’m feeling down, I think back to that and think ‘I can’t let these people win. I want to prove them wrong. I have to conquer over those feelings.’

sp1393“I’m Jackie Gilbert, and I play for the United States.”

Jackie is one of the 25 U.S. Women’s National Under-19 Team players featured in our recent “Be You” video, where the girls talk about how playing lacrosse has helped them embrace their individuality and become strong, capable and confident young women. Check it out below.

Watch more from the “Be You” series with Team USA at YouTube.com/USLacrosse, and look for more short one-on-one videos this spring with the top high school girls’ players in the country who will go for gold this summer in Scotland.


Article By Lane Errington – April 1, 2015


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