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BC Hydro ‘bully boards’ cause concern

It’s a new trend Kamloops graffiti task force executive director Ronnie Bouvier is desperately hoping won’t catch on.

Over the past two months, two BC Hydro boxes near busy bus stops have become host to a series of bullying messages.

However, unlike traditional nuisance graffiti, these messages go beyond bad words and racial slurs and directly target and name specific youths, Bouvier said.

“It’s a message saying, ‘Ronnie is ugly, this is where Ronnie lives, this is Ronnie’s phone number.’ That’s what we’re seeing,” Bouvier said.

The writing is also often sexually explicit.

“It’s not graffiti, it’s nothing artistic,” Bouvier said.

“It’s just messages and it’s so other kids read those messages.

“So, you know it’s bullying.”

Based on the grammar, writing style and wording of the messages, she believes they are being written by other youths under the age of 14.

So far, the “bully boards,” as Bouvier calls them, haven’t spread beyond a BC Hydro box in Aberdeen and another on Lansdowne Street downtown.

But, in the two months she’s been aware of the practice, Bouvier said 22 names have been written on those boxes.

“And, these are two major bus stops,” she said.

“It’s very concerning.”

Bouvier said she is only aware of one other B.C. community where the practice is popular — Vancouver.

However, the messages there, Bouvier said, tend to be more drug-related and appear to be written by older teens.

In the case of the Aberdeen hydro box, Bouvier said she’s been in touch with the neighbourhood association, which is now monitoring the area.

Bylaw officers are keeping a close watch on the hydro box downtown.

Bouvier is also planning to work with the Kamloops RCMP on a strategy to keep the bully boards from spreading to other areas of the city.

Her organization is documenting the graffiti and passing the information to Mounties, while also remaining in contact with the Kamloops-Thompson school district.

While the graffiti task force is making it a priority to clean up any bullying messages, Bouvier said that once they’ve been spotted, the damage has already been done.

“I’ve had one young girl who was one of the targets contact me and say, ‘There’s a bad thing about me on here and I’m trying to catch the bus,’” Bouvier said.

“So, we went and took care of it right away.

“But, I mean, she’d already read it.”

 

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