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Bullying forum hopes to find solutions



A forum on bullying is being held in Whistler next Tuesday as part of a drive to present a united front by local parents and residents.

The forum comes prior to a larger anti-bullying symposium in Surrey, which will include speakers and representatives from Whistler.

The March 6 forum at Myrtle Philip School will include members of the Whistler Secondary Parent Advisory Council, Whistler RCMP and representatives of the Safe Schools Committee. Among the issues being discussed will be a proposal to install a full-time schools liaison officer from the RCMP and a petition for changes to anti-bullying policies within British Columbia.

Organizer Leanne Du Four hopes parents of elementary school children will also attend.

"This is a movement by parents to have their voices heard on bullying and to find solutions where schools have failed to do so," she says. "Input from parents of younger kids is important because they are the ones starting to go through the school system."

Du Four has become a major proponent of anti-bullying initiatives in the province following her own daughter’s experience with being bullied in Whistler. The Du Four family is suing the Howe Sound School Board and the Whistler secondary principal for their alleged failure to stop the bullying that was occurring at the school.

Du Four wants to see mandatory bullying policies introduced within the provincial school system, to ensure greater accountability and better treatment of victims. She also wants the term "bullying" legally reclassified, on par with charges such as stalking and harassment, to act as a deterrent to bullies. Du Four hopes to gain more signatures to the petition at the subsequent public forum in Surrey on March 11.

The Vancouver forum is being organized by the mother of 14 year old Hamed Nastoh, who jumped off the Pattullo Bridge on March 11 last year because of incessant bullying and teasing at school. That event is expected to attract several hundred attendees including senior politicians and parents of other bullying victims.

The March 6 forum in Whistler starts at 7 p.m.