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Anti-Bullying an Important Topic for Langara Students

Campaigns to prevent bullying and harassment encourage student awareness

Kush Dadwal and Purvi Dhiman run the Pink Shirt Day booth in the main foyer of Building A at Langara College.
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Reported by Cameron Thomson

As discussions on bullying happen on campus in light of Pink Shirt day, the actions that can be interpreted as bullying can still be unclear to some Langara students.

On Feb. 28, Langara celebrated Pink Shirt Day, an initiative that has been raising money for anti-bullying programs by selling t-shirts and creating awareness for 11 years. This year’s theme is centred around cyberbullying.

According to the American Psychological Association, bullying is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort, but the extent to when an action is considered bullying is still blurry for some students.

Authority in the Wrong

Langara student Kelly Jokanovich said that some dismissive and petty behaviours coming from teachers, and while they are not considered bullying, they leave a negative learning experience. Jokanovich said that some topics discussed in psychology class made her feel uncomfortable. After she questioned the reason some topics, such as the biological differences between gay and straight men, were being discussed, the teacher accused her of undermining their authority.

Jokanovich said that after this exchange, the teacher became sarcastic and dismissive towards her, which was surprising to her. “It was a very weird situation, I had never really faced anything like that before where I was being indirectly attacked and in some cases directly verbally attacked by someone in authority,” Jokanovich said.

Other departments at Langara have put in place campaigns to prevent bullying and harassment.

Theatre School Joins Anti-Harassment Campaign

Studio 58 became the first theatre school in Canada to adopt the Not In Our Space! campaign. Founded by the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association, its purpose is to create workspaces free from harassment and disrespect.

Langara student Noor Fadel says bullying is an umbrella term, encompassing many kinds of harassment

Michelle Morris, Studio 58 student, helped bring the Not In Our Space! campaign to Langara. She said the campaign aims to prevent harassment and bullying that could arise between members of the production team.

“A lot of the problems in the industry start at school. They are not only between students but between teachers, and it’s not always outright discrimination, harassment or bullying,

“It can sometimes be micro-aggressions,” said Morris.

Bullying Can Take Many Shapes

Noor Fadel, a Langara student who was assaulted last year on the Canada Line SkyTrain, said she has experienced cyberbullying via Snapchat aimed at women wearing a hijab.

“They would take a [photo] and put all these lines in between us and say ‘connect the terrorists,’ said Fadel.

She said bullying, in her experience, can be an umbrella term that encompasses racism as well as the intentional exclusion of individuals from groups.

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