Rosemount students take a stand against bullying
MONTREAL - Massimo Colella is smiling now, but going to school used to mean dealing with bullies.
"First off when I was in Secondary 1 I did get pushed around excessively by Secondary 5 students," said Colella, a student at Rosemount High School in Montreal.
Colella is openly gay and was bullied for years because of his sexual orientation. The physical and emotional abuse made him depressed and led to thoughts of suicide, he said.
"Bullies don't understand how much trauma they can cause," he said. "Some people aren't able to handle it. I was able to handle it for 8 years of my life."
Colella is part of a program drummed up by the student council at Rosemount high school in the wake of the suicide of teenager Marjorie Raymond last month.
Raymond's tragic death sparked outrage and sadness for many across the province - especially amongst students.
"I think that it's scary to us that kids our age actually have the thought of killing themselves," said Kimberly Gallagher, a Rosemount student.
So the Rosemount student council felt they needed to act. They surveyed the student population about their experience with bullies and organized an anti-bullying presentation for the student body on Friday.
According to a recent survey, some 20 per cent of students in the English Montreal School Board say they've been victims of bullying.
Jaimi Dimopoulous; a guidance counselor at Rosemount, has tried to help her students deal with these problems, explaining that they don't need to feel powerless against bullies.
"I think the most important thing to do is to speak out about it," she said. "To speak to your friends, parents, or an adult you trust. So that you don't fell alone and so people can support you."