According to Princeton Secondary School Principal Patrick Kaiser, bullies have evolved to become psychological and social tormentors. Stock photo.

RCMP, teachers take action after spike in bullying at B.C. high school

RCMP and school safety experts have been called into Princeton Secondary School

Police and school safety experts have been called into Princeton Secondary School following a disturbing spike in incidents of bullying.

“It’s a pattern behaviour of name calling, pushing and shoving in the hallways, taking possessions and hiding them – little things to try to disempower somebody that through the pattern becomes a big deal,” said principal Patrick Kaiser.

“There were elements of cyberbullying, slash conflict, as well.”

The problems are occurring mostly with grade nine students, and have been brewing for several months.

“We probably got a sense in mid to late October that this was unusual and we started implementing things right then. We increased our school awareness, increased our presence in the hallway and adjusted classes for our grades eight and nine…to try to minimize the power of some of these individuals.”

There have been minor injuries reported related to physical conflicts, he said.

“There are a number of things that we have gone through – parent conversations, student conversations; lots and lots of student conversations.”

In February – and following the dictates of the school’s bullying policy – the RCMP were called in to help address the situation.

Constable Ryan Henley told The Spotlight there was no official complaint about any incident.

“Multiple kids came forward and expressed [about] some bullying types of behaviour,” he said.

Henley gave presentations about bullying to small groups.

“I felt that they went pretty good. I was a school liaison in one of my previous jobs so I have some experience…It was an opportunity for discussion and information.”

He declined to specify details of the incidents that were shared.

“The last thing I want to do is to single out a child or make it clear what parties are involved.”

When asked how the recent incidents compare to other complaints of bullying he has dealt with, Kaiser said “this year has certainly been an anomaly…We struggle to come up with reasons for what is going on because if I could put my finger on it I think I would be able to stop it.”

He has noticed an evolution in how bullies operate.

“Rarely do you see the typical bully [saying] ‘Gimme your lunch money.’ It’s way more psychological and social.”

Anti-bullying campaigns may actually play a role in the current situation, he added.

“With social media now and the growing awareness and all of that, [it] has partially educated our bullies on how to be creative.”

Related: COLUMN: The lingering effects of bullying

In February, nine PSS staff members attended a professional development session on bullying, and came away with new techniques for teachers to head off bullying in the classroom, said Kaiser.

Those ideas – including getting bullies to work constructively with other students to foster empathy and responsibility – are already being implemented.

Last week the school hosted a social media session to educate parents and a group from Safe Teen, which runs an international violence prevention strategy, will visit the school in April to speak to kids.

Kaiser said while students have been disciplined for bullying incidents “that is just a small piece of what is going to result in change. We have to hold students accountable through consequence but we also have to work with them through conversation to help them understand the significance of what they have done. Without that change won’t happen.”

In some cases the school has employed restorative justice methods to bring bullies and victims together.

“That has been used on occasion [after] determining with the victim as to where they are at. I don’t want to put the victim in a situation where they are going to feel powerless again…in a number of cases I wouldn’t put the victim in that situation with that person yet.”

Kaiser said it is also important to not stigmatize a child who has bullied.

“I don’t believe the kids who are doing this are bad kids,” he said. “I don’t believe we have any bad kids here at PSS, just kids who make mistakes.”

Related: Brenda Lucki to lead RCMP as force struggles with bullying, sexism

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Port Alberni Black Sheep win match against Island rivals

Black Sheep squared off against the Nanaimo Hornets for TC Cup action

11th annual Magic Cottage kicks off this weekend in Port Alberni

Cottage will be open over two weekends in November

Port Alberni RCMP hold second bike registration event

Project 529 will be at Canadian Tire on Saturday, Nov. 17

Husky Gas Station robbed on Third Avenue

Port Alberni RCMP still searching for suspect

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact political environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

CUPW requests mediator as deadline for Canada Post offer expires without deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Saturday night with a last-minute plea to the two sides

Trudeau says he won’t negotiate in public on future of LGBTQ rights in USMCA

Legislators urged Trump not to sign the agreement unless the language was removed.

Most Read