Seven letters, two words and one commitment by Brock Education students to put an end to an on-going problem

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Seven letters, two words and one commitment by Brock Education students to put an end to an on-going problem

Published on June 11 2012

I pledge.

The actions that stand behind this simple, yet potent, phrase are being employed by Education students at Brock University in an effort to combat the complex issue of bullying.

Resulting from the pursuit of her academic bread crumbs during this past winter break, Concurrent Education student Megan Peach came across morsels of information related to bullying that proved to be quite unsettling.

Upon further reflection, Peach noted there was something missing and quickly recognized an opportunity to craft a strategy that would modify how the subject of bullying is approached, particularly by educators.

“I was working on a paper for an Education course and comparing some of the theories of Foucault to bullying behaviours, specifically homophobic bullying,” said Peach. “I came across some shocking statistics of recent teen and child suicides in Ontario and was really taken back. I started watching anti-bullying YouTube videos posted by students, celebrities and politicians, but not a single video showcased an educator.”

This omission, this absent visibility of educators in front of the camera, was the initial snowflake that allowed Peach’s findings to snowball from statistics and inquiry into an action and planning.

Returning to campus in January, Peach mentioned to fellow classmates the outcomes of her research, and together, began to design the blueprint to bring educators to the forefront in an effort to prevent bullying.

“I wrote an original script and as more people got involved, we added lines and new ideas,” said Peach. “We made announcements in our classes and received an overwhelming amount of support and involvement from students and professors.”

With the written pledge acting as concrete affirmation to stand up to bullying, the video that was created to act as its complement engages the viewer in a visually, reflective way that challenges the viewer to eliminate stereotypes and victimization.

The video, which runs just over four minutes in length, depicts students located in various spots around campus holding up signs with words that can all be associated with bullying.

“The signs that the Con-Ed students are holding up are true reasons that they were bullied for in grade school and high school,” says Peach. “It was very empowering to witness so many students get involved and take time out of their busy lives to share their bullying experiences and take action as future teachers.”

Words such as braces, fat, loner, teacher’s pet and ugly that are visible in the early stages of the video are replaced by positive messages such as equity, empathy, respect, understanding and hope as each student pledges to eradicate bullying.

And while the Education students of Brock University have taken the pledge, so too have teachers and students in grade school and high school across the province.

With plans to bring the video into their placement classrooms next year, the pledge and the video have been the product of dedication, hard work and individuals who truly desire to make a difference.

Peach notes that there were two people in particular who really helped the project develop into the final product that it is.

Professor Bryce Honsinger, who opened up his classroom for feedback and filming, was a “huge help and motivator”, while fellow Con-Ed student Liam Dinsmore provided the work behind the camera and in the editing room.

Simply put by Peach, “the project would not have been possible without their help and support”.

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Three students hold signs saying (from L to R) friendship, hope, understanding
I pledge

Brock Education students, in an effort to put an end to bullying, pledge to preach a more understanding message to their students.