Brooke Robertson

Brooke Robertson

Kaslo student joins provincial anti-bullying task force

A Grade 10 student from Kaslo is one of 19 teens from around BC teaming up on a common goal — erasing bullying in the province.

A Grade 10 student from Kaslo is one of 19 teens from around BC teaming up on a common goal — erasing bullying in the province.

J.V. Humphries student Brooke Robertson learned Friday that she was selected for the ERASE Student Advisory, a provincial initiative aiming to develop real solutions to change the culture of all forms of bullying, including cyber-bullying.

“We need to work together to come up with clear strategies to stop bullying and intimidation,” said Premier Christy Clark. “The best way to ensure our efforts remain effective and relevant is to make sure youth are in the provincial discussion.”

ERASE stands for Expect Respect and A Safe Education and Robertson is eager to help put a stop to bullying, something she herself has experienced.

“I’ve been a victim of bullying,” she said. “It holds a special place in my heart, trying to erase it… It bothers me when I see other kids being bullied.”

Robertson’s school counselor helped her apply for ERASE and she never expected to be chosen. She is keen to bring forward her ideas now that she’s been selected. The 16-year-old suggests having more than one anti-bullying day to keep the awareness generated by Pink Shirt day foremost in people’s minds.

She would also like to work with the Village of Kaslo council toward community-wide awareness — “not just in schools,” she said.

Seeing the provincial government reach out to youth is a positive step in tackling the bullying problem, Robertson said.

“I am surprised they haven’t done it sooner.”

Along with Education Minister Peter Fassbender, Clark has tasked the advisory with some specific goals. Their first job is to develop social media guidelines for schools, to provide direction to students, parents and educators on how to use social media ethically and responsibly both inside and outside the classroom.

The ERASE group will hold their first meeting with Fassbender later in March where Robertson will meet students from throughout BC and learn about their experiences and ideas surrounding bullying.

“I am so excited to start,” Robertson said. “I am honoured to be a part of this awesome program.”