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Port Coquitlam passes anti-bullying resolution
Port Coquitlam council vote unanimously in favour of a resolution that instructs staff to create a bylaw that would make it an offence to bully in the municipality.
If the bylaw is enacted, bullying behaviour could be punished with a fine or provide bullies with an opportunity to take an approved course.
But for Gary Mauris, a PoCo business leader who has spearheaded the I Am Someone campaign, the new bylaw is about more than just levying fines.
Putting the regulations on the books would be symbolic of a community that will no longer tolerate this kind of behaviour, he said during a presentation to council.
"In the last 12 months, four teenagers in this community have committed suicide," he said. "If you look at the youth, they are being robbed of their self-esteem."
Mauris encouraged PoCo to be the first city in British Columbia to approve an anti-bullying bylaw, following in the footsteps of Alberta and Saskatchewan, where similar legislation exists.
The council resolution came more than two months after the death of Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old PoCo girl who committed suicide, after posting a video on YouTube asking for help.
Young people are encouraged to get involved and share their stories at www.iamsomeone.ca. People can also show their support by posting an "I am someone" sticker in the window of their business or public facility.
Youth who are being bullied can seek support from professionals at the Kids Help Phone line by going to (www.kidshelpphone.ca) or calling or texting 1-800-668-6868.
– with files from Diane Strandberg