From the Mayor’s Desk: This one’s for the youngsters

To the Children of Peachland, Today’s “From The Mayor’s Desk” is for you. Next Wednesday, February 28th is Pink Shirt Day. This is a day to show solidarity against bullying. “Solidarity” means that we stand strong together in our message that bullying is wrong and we don’t accept it. I will be wearing my pink shirt on Wednesday and I hope you will too. I think almost everyone has experienced bullying in their lifetime — even your mayor. At 10 years-old I moved to a new school. At first, I thought my new friends were great, but over the next year several of them started to change. A few of them started to shoplift, and one weekend they wanted to go to the school to break windows. When I told them I would not do it, that is the day the bullying started. Name-calling, ridiculing (making fun of) and shunning (avoiding me and rejection), were part of the bullying. The way they treated me hurt a lot. But I never regretted my decision not to do the bad things they wanted me to do. I quickly made new friends – many of who, are still my good friends today, and I never cower or be afraid of people who try to bully. Not me! That was the first time I stood up to serious bullying. If I could have done one thing differently it would have been to tell an adult – a parent, a teacher, a relative, a friend. Like many kids who are afraid to tell, I worried that if I did, the bullying would get worse. But as an adult, I know now that the thing that scares a bully the most, is if you tell someone. It scares them, because bullies are not tough people. They pretend to be, especially when in groups. Really, they are cowards. And many bullies hate themselves and their lives, so they try to find fault in other people to make themselves feel better. It doesn’t work. Maybe the bully is having problems at home, maybe he or she was bullied by their brothers or sisters, or other children, and think that is the way to act. Whatever the reason they are a bully, I can you one thing for certain…its not you. There is nothing wrong with you.Ignore them. I also believe it is important learn how to deal with bullies when you are young, because bullying doesn’t stop when you get older. Yes, there are adult bullies out there. Some bullies never grow up. Here’s some things you can do right now. First, if you are able to go online (with your parents’ permission), go to It is a great website that gives you all sorts of ideas and support. If you give them your email address you can receive their PinkShirtDay newsletters that have updates and event information. There is also still time to #PinkItForward. It’s easy to do. For each hashtag (for the month of February), Coast Capital will donate $1. to Pink Shirt Day in support of bullying prevention programs for youth in B.C. Join or form an anti-bullying group at school. There is strength and support in numbers, and there are good ideas on how to deal with bullies, or if you see someone else being bullied, on how to help them. It’s very important that you don’t become a bully yourself. There’s an old saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” But that is not the answer. You wouldn’t want to hurt other people the same way a bully hurt you. And becoming a bully will turn you into the angry, bitter person, like they are. For some, bullying is a sport, and they feel like they won, if you react. Instead, walk away from a bully, to let them know you don’t want to play their game. Unfortunately, today there is Cyber-bullying. Some people seem to become braver when they can hide behind a keyboard and can be cruel to another. Do not react. Instead, tell someone, tell your parents, tell your friends at school, especially if you belong to an anti- bulling group. Sometimes the easiest people to talk to are those people who have experienced the same thing. I have a challenge for you. On Wednesday, Pink Shirt Day, say something nice about someone. If you use Facebook, say something nice to someone. If you are with a group of friends, give a compliment to someone. I’d love to hear about it. If you want to share you Pink Shirt Day experience, or any time, you can email me at mayorfortin. In the end, those kids who bullied me left me alone because they realized that they weren’t going to get a reaction out of me. The most important thing I want you to know is that you are not alone. If you are ever feeling a little sad by something someone said to you, don’t forget to tell someone. Also, hum the words to Christina Aguilera’s song: Beautiful “I am beautiful, no matter what they say. Words can’t bring me down.” Chin up and Ttyl,


Mayor Cindy

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