First day of new anti-bullying law
An Ontario mother and daughter duo want to get out an important message that bullying is not a game.
School begins Tuesday and it's the first day that new anti-bullying legislation goes into effect in Ontario classrooms.
Amanda Flasko is a university student, but a few years ago she was the victim of bullying.
"All of a sudden the first day of Grade 8 things changed," said Amanda.
Every friend she had since Grade 1 turned on her because one of those girls liked the same boy she did.
At first, she said, it was strictly name calling. Then it got physical.
"At recess time they would whip me with their belt or on one occasion they would throw pennies at me. It got to be so hard," Amanda recalled.
Her mother Laurie Flasko is one of the authors of a book called Bullying is Not a Game, offering tips to parents.
"I think you watch for things that aren't normal, in Amanda's case, she didn't call her friends anymore," said Laurie.
But parents and victims of bullying also have the law on their side this school year.
The Accepting Schools Act that passed in June means schools must take a tough stance with bullies, including expulsions.
The bill gives school administrators and teachers an opportunity to address not only victims of bullying, but the bullies themselves.
Stu Auty is the president of the Canadian Safe School Network, which wants to reduce youth violence in schools, especially bullying.
"You can't overlook it. The school principal and the staff and department heads, depending upon whether it's a high school or an elementary school, are mandated to have a plan and when they see it there's to be a consequence," said Auty.
As for Amanda, she's completing her undergraduate degree and plans to become a child psychologist so she can help young people facing bullies.