Bullying at St. Bernadette School described in major Globe story Monday, October 15, 2012 by: Rick McGee
A compelling front page article in today's Globe and Mail describes the devastating and lingering impacts of bullying incidents that took place at St. Bernadette School in Sault Ste. Marie two decades ago.
The details are recounted by the victim of that bullying - former Sault resident Carly Weeks, now a highly respected award-winning journalist.
The situations Weeks writes about happened at the McNabb Street School in 1992-93.
Things deteriorated to the point that she transferred to St. Mark School halfway through Grade 8.
"It's [the bullying that occurred at St. Bernadette] has had a lasting impact on me as a person," Weeks told SooToday.com News from Toronto this morning.
"This is the first time I have written about those experiences."
To read Weeks' article, click here.
The file photo show Weeks (centre) in happier circumstances.
SipKing 10/15/2012 2:39:41 PM Report
Amazing after all these years little has changed. Bullying still continues at this school as I am sure at many other schools. The common response is "Ok I'll keep a watch out for signs of bullying" then nothing gets done, I feel for the teachers they have so much on there plate and most are not trained on dealing with bullying situations
lowla 10/15/2012 3:33:26 PM Report
the teachers know, the lunch monitors know, but nothing is ever done. They let these poor children suffer unchecked
Hatch 10/15/2012 3:49:06 PM Report
Addressing the issue is long overdue.
Sam C 10/15/2012 4:02:16 PM Report
The days of not doing anything have past. Teachers who are aware of bullying incidents are compelled to take action.
One problem is that bullying is often not overt, especially cyber-bullying.
Another problem is that the parents of bullies often refuse to accept that their children are bullies.
I listened to a story on the weekend of a parent whose child eventually committed suicide. When she brought the bullying to the attention of school authorities they took action. Unfortunately, when the school contacted the parents of the children involved, they (parents) took the view that it didn't happen on school property, so the school had no business telling them how to raise their kids.
Bullying is a much bigger problem than just a couple of kids not getting along.
Stevie-E 10/15/2012 4:07:18 PM Report
Could someone PLEASE put the power back in the teacher's hands? Students...as precious and innocent as one would think may be little monsters at school and teachers can't do a thing!
Bullying IMO is much worse now because the use of Facebook and other social media. However, prevention is the same and threats of repercussion for such actions should be the forefront of the school system.
Kids are at school are there to learn and hopefully building lasting friendships, not ruin the experience for someone else.
Teachers are paid very well and should be able to handle some bad seeds once in a while, but liberal weenies won't get the job done...we need teachers that show a sense of authority or else we will lose these children at a young age.
The image should be either the parents properly discipline the children, or the school system will.
Norm 10/15/2012 5:04:36 PM Report
What are you saying Sam? A little girl just took her own life after reaching out to millions of people. Maybe parents have to get more involved in their child's school activities. It might be worth it even with the busy lives many of them have. A lot bullies are not as tough as they seem to be, just looking to be popular with the rest of the, usually, followers.
right wing 10/15/2012 5:25:22 PM Report
Bullying, unfortunately, often goes unnoticed.
The kid being bullied knows that if he spills the beans the bullying will cease for a bit but there will be hell to pay down the road.
This results in the victim just sucking it up, remaining silent and suffering.
IMO the best way to combat this is to educate from a very young age how devastating the effects of bullying are on peoples lives.
The education must start at home and continue on in school.
Bad Dawg 10/15/2012 5:34:25 PM Report
I would just like to say that everyone.... That girl made bad choices over and over again! Her parents did a poor job in protecting her from predators online. There needs to be rules for your kids online!!
After the first pic surfaced we would have handled it differently. First we would have made a public apology for our childs behavior and had the creep on the other computer charged with "distribution of child porn". not send her to different school didn't bother changing her identity in any way. Even just enroll under mothers maiden name who btw was on the school board.
And had the girl charged with assault, tresspassing, and I'm sure they broke some other laws too (which the school should have done)
oh yeah she would never touch a computer without DIRECT supervision, home schooled til people forgot or she gets her diploma.
... the closer you are to your kids the less chance of something coming between you.
Bad Dawg 10/15/2012 5:35:47 PM Report
And kudos to Ms. Weeks for staying strong through tough times.
frizz 10/15/2012 6:13:38 PM Report
My son, was bullied so badly at school, as a child that we found him huddled in the corner in a ball. It took everything in us to pull the story out of him. He was scared and crying when he told us what had been going on. You see, he was a gymnast among hockey players. "Woman" they called him, "homosexual" they called him. Neither term a slanderous name in their own right. But to a young boy who took those comments while being kicked and beaten in what they called "the circle of death" behind a rock out of vision of the teachers and monitors, it all added up to an adult who suffers greatly from social anxiety today... and the inability to completely recover from his past experiences. The principal of the school was supportive and suggested that the police be called. We did, and as much as the behaviours stopped, so did any inclusion in anything by former classmates. Some parents got angry and blasted us for the police involvment but the school had insisted that was how it had to be handled. Those days are past and many bridges have been built but the scars are there forever. I feel such a heavy heart telling this story because my beautiful and much loved son, paid a huge price for his chosen sport and I just hope that people watch their kids for any sign of putting down another for their choices because to hurt someone by bullying is a cruel life altering event. As a family we suffered through recovery from all of that. To Carly: I had no idea you had been through these things. I am proud of you for coming forward. It takes a lot of courage.
ttb 10/15/2012 6:20:29 PM Report
Because nobody has the balls (excuse me) to do this right. Identify the bully and punish the bully severely. It's the only way. It's human nature. If anyone really wants to stop bullies,
You have to chop off their ba&&s So to speak
I know I sound. Like an ass. But I believe it's the only way. HARSH!!
thesharr 10/15/2012 6:46:56 PM Report
Every school knows who the bullies are,they can pick them out when kids are playing by their aggresiveness,their vocal charactoristics and just how they treat their school mates.This must be stopped a.s.a.p. before another beautiful innocent child makes the wrong choice.These kids are the future,let's make sure they get to experience it.Bootcamp for the bullies,first offence,no slap on the wrist,gotta come down harsh!
Tom_Bom 10/15/2012 6:59:52 PM Report
Bullying has had a tremendous impact on my life. I was constantly made fun of in elementary school and singled out, and in highschool I was constantly threatened, was knocked out twice, and received 3 concussions. I went through a lot and now have PTSD as a result of it.
Everyone is getting serious about bullying and thats great... but I don't see how we can make a difference. Terrible people will be terrible... especially when they assemble in groups and are terrible together. How do you stop that?
It would be great to live in a bully free world, but I just don't see how it's plausible.
And don't let people fool you saying it ends in highschool folks. It doesn't. It just becomes more sophisticated and subtle. I was working at a call centre and someone else who worked there punched me in the face, for no reason what so ever. We were both suspended and after a month of the call center dragging its ass on the issue, I simply quit. (most call center HR people are scumbags anyway)
I would love to see bullying end... but in the new digital age where you can be cyber bullied, bullied and intimidated through texts on the phone, and bullied in person, I just don't see how we can put a stop to it. terrible people will be terrible people.
Being bullied will do one of two things. It will either make you a stronger person, or it will crush your soul. I personally was lucky to make it out of highschool alive.
It is my hope that no one ever has to go through the torment that I and many others have had to go through. Not one more kid... but how do you stop something that is inherit in human nature?
ajiakitty 10/15/2012 7:06:07 PM Report
Parents need to accept responsibility for when their kids bully. Period. My poor son was bullied, so I called the prinicipal, wrote letters, etc. This went on for about 4 months, then my sons hair completely fell out from the stress. I home schooled my boy for over a year and now he has been back in school for a couple of years. My son was call gay, retarded, stupid all the nasty things kids say and it would never have stopped no matter all the complains, photos, letters I sent to the principle. He always just said I'll talk to the kids involved, but the kids involved had no idea what he was talking about. Go Figure.
Tom_Bom 10/15/2012 7:06:30 PM Report
To further the cyber bullying thing, when i was in school, there was no facebook and computers were just being phased into schools. There was a PC at home but i never used it. So at least the bullying stopped when i went home. That was the break from it all, being able to be home all weekend and all summer, so you can kind of recharge and prepare for the next horrible day at school.
Now with social media, the kids who are bullied don't get a break. It comes through facebook, twitter, and every other avenue of social media you could imagine. So the kids of today do not have the luxury I had of being able to escape it when you go home, because the bullys can now torment the kids at home with a few stroke of their keyboard and a click of a mouse.
Things were hard for me, but i'd venture to say that being a teenager in todays world is even harder because there's no escaping those terrible people any more.
tere 10/15/2012 8:15:31 PM Report
I have to blame the parents of these bullies....keep sticking up for your so called angels...your problems will get much worst in time cause you cant discipline your child and teach them right from wrong...SHAME ON YOU...
KMF61MCF 10/15/2012 8:16:58 PM Report
8 students swarmed one student kicked him punched him etc. All the 8 students received was in school suspensions.Which turned out to be real cold days so they got to stay in a nice warm school. What punishment is this? The School boards took the Principles OUT of there Union. Making them Management Principles are not like Years ago when they had power to suspend not comfy cozy in school suspensions. School Boards don't don't want to lose students to other School Boards lose numbers and funding.
the coach 10/15/2012 8:24:44 PM Report
These parents of these bullies need a good back hand just like their moronic kids. If you get your rocks off by belittling and shaming a harmless person you will pay one day. Wake up school boards and start sending these bozos home.
KMF61MCF 10/15/2012 8:33:04 PM Report
Ohhh they cant send little Johnny or Little Susie home because the school is a baby sitting service no one is home to accept them and keep them home if they get suspended.
KMF61MCF 10/15/2012 8:42:25 PM Report
Society and the lack luster laws have ruined our kids. Parents can not discipline there kids for Child Services will pay you a visit, The police can not do any thing to the kids because there are no laws to discipline the kids. The School Boards don't want to hear a parent say i am going to take my child out of there school board and put them in another school board that's money funding per child they will lose. SCHOOL BOARDS ARE a Business as well lets not lose sight of this. Have you ever heard a child belittle and try and Bully even their Teacher or a Police Officer, or even a Child Services Worker? I have its sickening.And when a child is disciplined then the Parents scream and act like the bully they say there child is not.
Lovethenorth 10/15/2012 8:57:05 PM Report
Our son was bullied terribly at Rosedale 10-12 years ago. We taught him to fight back. That was the only thing that changed anything. He got suspended a bunch of times but we were fine with that. He never started a fight, but once he started fighting back, that really helped. The hands off policy was a joke. Hands off means hands off for the victim!
Bullying often begins at home. We will never fix the problems at bullying in schools until we address the roots of bullying in the home. And it is not always kids from troubled broken homes who bully. Sometimes it is the kids who come from nice homes but are spoiled and pampered brats who bully just because they get a kick out of it. Too many parents are doing a lousy job of teaching kids self-responsibility.
Bringing back old methods of discipline is not the answer. Bullying was rampant back in the days when teachers could hit kids. Hitting doesn't solve anything. What solves things is addressing the core causes and holding kids accountable for their behaviour. AND holding parents accountable for their rotten kids!
KMF61MCF 10/15/2012 9:59:27 PM Report
Absolutely Lovethenorth i agree with you.
thesharr 10/15/2012 10:19:59 PM Report
To all the people that were bullied my heart is filled with sadness,but listening to you brings tears of joy,you over came that period of your life and made you a stronger person and who you are today,God Bless You All.We must be there for these children who are bullied,we must talk to our children,ask them what's going on at school,who is being bullied or picked on.If they hear the concern in your voice,they will tell you.These children have to know they don't stand alone,the fellow classmates know bullying is wrong and should stand united against the bully and turn him or her in.
theprotector 10/16/2012 10:38:09 AM Report
sam you are right - that is why the teachers ignore the problem. You are new in this field and have a great less real world experiance in the school system from a teacher aspect.
As soon as they acknowledge the issue they must address it, so much eaiser for them to ignore it.
And now yet again a young person has taken their own life because of bullying. NOTHING warranted the bullying she suffered
MommyofOne 10/16/2012 10:51:29 AM Report
I was bullied from kindergarten to grade 10. Its the worst thing a child can go through. Im 33 now. Back then the teachers took a blind eye to it. When I stuck up for myself I was the one who got in trouble. I have a story very similar to Carlys. I went through hell. I cried every morning before school, could not sleep right at night, had panic attacks as soon as I saw the school, I did not want to go to school. Recess was hell for me, as I knew the minute I stepped outside I was going to be pushed, spit on called names, ect.. I woud try to hide in the bathroom before recess but teachers caught on and would make me go outside. I could go on but I would have a whole story like hers..lol Bullying has to stop. Kids have to realizes the damage they are doing to these other kids. Parents ans teachers should step up and stop this or at least take responsibility. To this day I do not hold any grudges towards the kids who bullied me nor do I hate them. The ones I do hold a grudge towards are the teachers and principal.
frnlak 10/16/2012 11:18:07 AM Report
I also was bullied in grade school, not by fellow students but by teachers themselves.I remember sitting in class with all faces facing the front towards the blackboard when the teacher walked in. Each one of us wondering who's turn would it be this time. More times than not, one of us would get a blind sided slap to the back of the head (no marks)so hard that your head would litterly bang off the top of the desk. This happened fifty years ago at Riverview Public School and I thought that I had this burried in my subconsious untill it snapped to attention lately when I saw a teacher wearing a T shirt with the wording " BULLING STOPS HERE" ! Well for me, thats where bullying started. I would not know what they would look like now but I rember their names I pray to god, For them and myself, that our paths never cross.
MommyofOne 10/16/2012 12:04:19 PM Report
I know what you mean frnlak. I remember all the teachers's names as well. I went to Catholic school too. Grade 2 teacher was the worst, mean of witch, she would pinch me, grabbed me by my arm and left a bruise, hit me on the hand with a ruler. I could go on. I hope karma caught up with them. And these were adults and authority figures who were suppose to teach and protect us while at school, not make it worse and bully themselves. I pray my daughter never has what happened to me happen to her. It breaks my heart even thinking about it.
sweetcountry 10/16/2012 12:38:16 PM Report
My daughter was bullied all of last year when in grade 8. I met with her teacher, principal and the councellor several times. They would contact the kids parents and they would talk to the kids involved and even gave some detention. The bullying would stop for a bit but then continue. The school even had a police officer come into the school and talk about bullying. It doesn't do any good. My child missed out on going on the grade 8 Toronto trip because of them and also didn't have a good time at her graduation because one of the "bully's " called my daughter a "bitch" for no reason at grad when sitting up at the grad table and they also wouldn't talk to her and would give her the silent treatment. A lot of their parents also wouldn't talk to my daughter on grad night. It was unbelievable to see grown ups act like that towards a kid. My daughter liked caring for the younger kids and would help out on recesses and lunch in the kindergarten room , it was also her way of getting a break from the kids in her class and their bullying, but they started bullying her because she spent time helping out with the sk and jk's. My daughter was bullied all through elementary school. Thankfully this year, so far she is enjoying high school. More needs to be done about this . No child should have to endure this.
N1T5 101 10/16/2012 2:07:02 PM Report
I was bullied while attending parkland in grade 7 kids were coming from white pines and harassing me after school when I started standing up for myself it started getting violent an then to the point where they would walk down the street Iived on and would rap off to my mother my mom called the school and told them what was going on and there was nothing they could do because it was off school property I finnally lost control near the end of the school year my sister was in trade 8 at the time and she was graduating I was in grade 7 I ended up gettin skipped to grade 9 the next year cause it got so bad I have no graduation photos and nothing but bad memories but it made me who I am today people say I'm a bad person but everything I've ever done was for what I stood up for I can't stand bullies and as I write this I'm crying but I want to thank my mother for putting up with everything with me and with what was hopping to us as a family
frnlak 10/16/2012 9:41:31 PM Report
101...Hugs to you babe.
Working Man 10/16/2012 9:53:48 PM Report
That sucks... What was the teachers name btw?
I think it would be very hard as a teacher to address every little issue with a strict lecture. I mean, kids are 'always' messing around with each other.
Adults do it too, all the time! Do you really think that the professional looking counsellor doesn't gossip about her colleages about who's the 'slut' in the office, who's cheating on her husband, blah, blah. It happens all the time, with every age and with probably every profession! Sootoday always pokes fun at people in the news. Whether it is by posting a picture next to their article to make fun of them, or to even go as far as to make fun of their surnames!
When it happens to a child though, everybody tears up. When it happens to an adult, well they're just considered 'losers' to everyone.
Sad world. Yes. But, nothing we can really do about it.
Working Man 10/17/2012 6:12:24 PM Report
I hope not to offend anyone with my post.
My point was not to offend, but for people to understand that kids are influenced by adults behavior and you can't expect them to be good people if you're an asshole yourself. Bullying will never change; unless people on a whole change. Don't expect the 5 year olds to change the world. They won't.