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Two in five Sask. high school students bullied

Posted on January 10, 2017 by Maple Creek

Sean McIntosh
Twitter: @SeanMCNews

A new report states that two in five high school students have been bullied in the past month.

The Saskatchewan Alliance for Youth and Community Well-being (SAYCW) surveyed 8,800 Grade 7 to 12 students from 114 schools across the province, asking about different health-related topics.

The results of the Dec. 14 report showed two in five students have been bullied in the past month.

It’s a different environment for students today than it was in the past, said SAYCW co-chair and vice president of population health, quality and research at Saskatchewan Cancer Agency Jon Tonita.

“Bullying has probably been around as long as people have been around, but one thing that’s different now is all this online stuff with cyber bullying,” he said.

Parents, school boards and various organizations that deal with mental illnesses are some of the parties that need to work to rid bullying from schools, he added.

The report also states 19 per cent of students surveyed have considered suicide in the past year and a half, with half of those attempting suicide.

It’s possible there was a link between the bullying and suicide, but Tonita said he did not want to speculate because he isn’t a mental health expert.

What surprised Tonita in the report was the limited variation of results from schools across the province, he said.

“People might think ‘well if it’s an inner-city school or maybe some of the schools in the north, their results may be worse,’ when in fact, the things that were inside this report were pretty much the same across the board,” he said.

The Chinook School Board has plenty of guidelines and rules in place to prevent bullying, said Liam Choo-Foo, director of education.

“We’re committed to providing safe and respectful school environments here in Chinook,” he said.

There haven’t been many reports of bullying coming from Chinook students on the provincial child-bullying hotline, Choo-Foo noted.

“That doesn’t mean [bullying] is not happening here so we stay diligent and try to make sure it doesn’t, but it’s certainly not happening in an overwhelming influx in our schools, at least to that level,” said Choo-Foo.

The key thing for bullied students to do it is find an adult they can trust, he added.

“It’s really important to communicate and work through this with an adult, not just your own peers. Sometimes you need an adult perspective,” he said.

The full report can be found on the SAYCW’s website at http://www.saycw.com.

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