Released on November 17, 2015
This week, more than 9,000 Saskatchewan students in Grades 6 through 12 are participating in the province’s largest ever Student First Anti-Bullying Forum.
The forum kicked off this morning with a live broadcast from Regina’s Campbell Collegiate to schools across the province where students watched in real time. This is the first year that students have been able to participate from their own school.
The forum is taking place this week in recognition of Bullying Awareness Week in Saskatchewan which was proclaimed by Education Minister Don Morgan to bring awareness to the importance of safe schools. The theme of this year’s forum is Stand-Up to Bullying: Activating the Bystander.
“Every Saskatchewan student deserves to feel welcomed and accepted for who they are,” Morgan said. “The Youth Forum is about educating kids on the effects of bullying, how they can prevent it and what they can do if they see, hear or are bullied. I’m thrilled that a record number of students are going to hear those messages first hand this year.”
Morgan was one of four keynote presenters at the event. University of Regina Professor Dr. Alec Couros spoke about how to be safe and respectful online.
“This year’s forum is an extraordinary opportunity for Saskatchewan youth,” Dr. Couros said. “Students from more than 160 schools across the province are connecting with each other and engaging in important conversations about bullying and about becoming an upstander, both on and offline. Having this many students working together to stop bullying is a record in our province and it shows how important this is to students and their schools.”
Throughout the remainder of the week, teachers will lead students through a series of activities about responsible online behaviour and how to build positive and inclusive communities, both in person and online.
On Thursday, a province-wide online chat will focus on creating a positive digital identity and being respectful and supportive of each other online. Students are also encouraged to create a multimedia project to share their ideas about creating safe and caring schools and online communities.
The Youth Forum, now in its third year, is a key action undertaken by the Ministry of Education to support the recommendations from Saskatchewan’s Action Plan to Address Bullying and Cyberbullying.
In June 2014, the ministry launched an online bullying reporting tool in response to the Action Plan. Students can also report bullying through Crime Stoppers. The online reporting tool, information about the forum and resources designed to help prevent bullying and cyber-bullying are available at www.iamstronger.ca.
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