Petawawa Supports Anti-Bullying
PETAWAWA – The town is making progress in the development of an ambitious anti-bullying initiative.
Last November, the town announced it was collaborating with the Phoenix Centre and the Renfrew County United Way to make the Petawawa Inclusion Project (PIP) a reality. The program is community wide initiative that focuses on bullying prevention and community inclusion.
Since then the Petawawa Police Services Board has taken the lead in coming up with a motto and logo and will soon have the results of a community-wide survey on the issue. On Wednesday, Feb. 24, the town will participate in Pink Shirt Day with members of council and some staff wearing specially designed pink shirts for the day.
Councillor Treena Lemay said this outward display will symbolize that society will not tolerate bullying anywhere. The first Pink Shirt Day was organized in 2007 by students David Shepherd and Travis Price at their Berwick, Nova Scotia school. They bought and distributed 50 pink shirts after male ninth grade student Charles McNeill was bullied for wearing a pink shirt during the first day of school.
“In order to downplay the effect of this bullying or taunting, a good number of other students in the school decided that they would wear pink,” explained Lemay.
The Petawawa Inclusion Project, only the second one of its kind in the county after Deep River, aims to raise awareness of the important and topical issue of bullying, engage and empower community members to address and combat bullying, and to celebrate diversity and difference within the community.
“Bullying is a very serious behaviour,” said Mayor Bob Sweet adding we have seen too many times where the victim of bullying feels they have to take their own life to escape the torment they face. “It breaks my heart when I see young kids committing suicide over bullying. They just want to be included and we as a society has to step up and see what we can do.”
While a number of strategies and events are being planned under the project’s umbrella, Sweet said he would love to see a “We Day” inspired concert for the youth and hosted entirely by the youth with no adult involvement at all.