Video of sobbing 6-year-old sparks conversation around school bullying
Andrew Mianscum Jr.'s sister posted the video on Facebook; it has been viewed 220,000 times
A video showing a distraught six-year-old student in northern Quebec who doesn't want to go to school because of bullying has gone viral.
The video of Andrew Mianscum Jr. was posted on Facebook by his 17-year-old sister Trudy Longchap, who regularly takes her brother to school at Voyageur Memorial Elementary School in the Cree community of Mistissini.
"It broke my heart seeing him cry because he didn't want to go to school due to bullying," said Longchap.
Kids have teased Andrew Jr. about his school work, she says. Longchap says she took the video because she didn't know what else to do, and shared it because she wants the bullying to stop. The video shows Andrew Jr. sobbing in the cloakroom as he put on his shoes to go into class.
"He begged me not to go to school," said Longchap, who was also on her way to school. "I was holding in the tears as I walked out of his school and away from his classroom."
Since posting the video on Oct. 5, it has been viewed 220,000 times with thousands of people from all over Canada commenting on how they were impacted by bullying and how the issue needs to be better addressed.
"They way he cried, he made a lot of people emotional," said Longchap, adding she was surprised by the reaction the video has received.
"I want parents to let their kids know that it's not a good thing to tease other kids," said Longchap.
She said her brother is a sweet and sensitive kid with a big heart.
Before posting the video, Longchap talked with her dad, Andrew Mianscum Sr. He said he's proud of his daughter for sending out such a strong and important anti-bullying message.
"I talked to my kids about teasing. I think every parent should do the same," said Mianscum Sr.
He said a few years ago one of his sons was accused of bullying behaviour.
"Bullying can be controlled," he said.
School board has anti-bullying policy
Sarah Pash, the newly elected chairperson of the Cree School Board, says the video struck a chord with so many because of how widespread the problem is.
"As a parent, my heart went out to that little boy," said Pash. "It's difficult to see a child who is in that state of upset. it affects us on a very personal level."
She said administrators at Voyageur Memorial school in Mistissini have brought Andrew Jr. together with others in his class to work on supervised projects together.
I want parents to let their kids know that it's not a good thing to tease other kids.- Trudy Longchap
According to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, at least one in three adolescent students have reported being bullied, and 47 per cent of parents report having a child that's been a victim of bullying. Pash says she doesn't feel the problem is any worse in Cree territory than elsewhere in the country.
The Cree School Board has an anti-bullying policy and several programs in place to address the problem, but Pash says it's a tough subject because it's so emotional on so many different levels.
"It's difficult to address head-on because it's uncomfortable," said Pash.
She says it's important to address the situation in a way that doesn't target the other child or set them up with a negative reputation moving forward.
"You want to make sure you are dealing with this in a way that will bring people together," said Pash.
She says it's important that the teasing or bullying be addressed quickly by administrators and parents or it can set up negative consequences.
"When [children] are not feeling good in school, they are not able to engage intellectually within school," said Pash, which can lead to a snowball of negative impacts around learning.
Pash says she is pleased with the way Voyageur Memorial School handled the situation and encourages people to report things to school administrators immediately.
Trudy Longchap says she wasn't blaming the school by posting the video, she just "wants the bullying to stop."
But, since the video went viral, she said her little brother has had much more interest in going to school.
With files from Jaime Little