Stewiacke girl spreads anti-bullying message
A teenaged girl in Stewiacke, N.S., who used to be bullied is preparing to talk to students getting ready for junior high school about the importance of standing up to bullies.
"They'd call me a whore and all that stuff," said Ashley MacInnes.
"I'm not even close to that, I don't go around with a bunch of different people."
The 13-year-old said the bullying started in elementary school and caused her to skip class.
"I go to school, they're not going to like what I'm wearing, they're going to make fun of it. They don't like how my hair is, they're going to make fun of it," she told CBC News on Friday.
"I was scared to go to school. I was crying all the time. I was scared to tell anyone about it, because what if I tell someone? It's going to get worse."
Once Ashley became a junior high school student at South Colchester Academy, things got worse. Some boys pushed her to the ground and threw a book at her, she said, and there was another incident when she was shoved against a locker.
Ashley said a girl in her class also threatened to kill her.
"The kid in my class behind me, whispering in my ear, 'I'm going to kill you, you're going to be dead by the time I leave.' The threats, I was really scared. I was scared to go to school."
Ashley fought her fear and went back to school. Her parents called the police and said the school suspended the girl for about a month.
The harassment then reared its head online.
"One of her friends came on Facebook and said stuff to me. 'You better watch out, she's going to blow her mind when she comes back, you better stay away from her.'"
Ashley said nothing violent happened, but standing up to bullying changed her life. Next week, she'll talk to groups of students preparing for junior high school and distribute bracelets with the slogan, "Stand up to bullying."
As a member of an anti-bullying club, she's also selling T-shirts with the phrase, "Help the targets of bullying."
Ashley said she wants victims of bullying to take one message from her experiences — never give up.
"It's going to stop if you get help, if you stand up to it and you go get the right help," she said.
"You have a lot of people. You're not alone."