Bullying hurts

Student was bullied throughout her high school career

My name is Rebecca Classen. I am 16 years old, have graduated from high school and my mother knows I have written this letter.

I write to you about my growing concern of bullying. I myself have been bullied for as long as I can remember. I have been made fun of for how I look, what I wear and how I act.

My years in school were nothing but painful and will be a part of me forever. In almost every situation that I dealt with, authority figures ignored what was going on.

Teachers turned a blind eye, and parents claimed they had raised their children to know better. I was lucky enough to have the support of my family, and although I felt it was never going to end, my parents were able to take me out of a bad situation.

I proved those who doubted me wrong, and graduated a year early this past June at sixteen; I have goals for the bright future ahead of me and hope to use my experiences to help my peers.

Unfortunately, there are others who are not so lucky. We are constantly hearing stories of teens taking their lives because of bullying. According to Statistics Canada, 23 per cent of deaths among 15 to 19-year-olds were due to suicide in 2009.

This more than doubled from the nine per cent in 1974. Although there is no proof that this increase in teen suicide is related to bullying, I can’t help but think that it is. With social media outlets being more popular than ever, it is easier for youth to hide behind a computer screen and a fake persona. Our schools claim that they have zero tolerance for bullies, but rarely prove it.

I read a recent interview with Premier Christy Clark and agree with the fact that cyber-bullying needs to be criminalized, but I feel it needs to go further than just cyber-bullying. Every type of bullying needs to be criminalized, be it cyber-bullying, physical bullying or verbal bullying.

I know that it is hard to define the line between what is just kids being kids and a criminal act, but it needs to be done.

I know that I am just one small person, but I am set on one thing: a national bill being passed that will criminalize all types of bullying. I want to take part in a movement that could save lives.

We can never bring back those we have lost due to bullying, but we can do them justice by trying our hardest to save others.

Rebecca Classen

Parksville