News Views: Let’s talk about it

A memo from the B.C. Ministry of Education to all 60 school districts last week advises teachers not to show Amanda Todd video.

A memo from the B.C. Ministry of Education to all 60 school districts last week advises teachers not to show the video in which Amanda Todd tells her tragic tale, flash card by flash card.

The video has been viewed close to 20 million times on YouTube already. Memorial pages on Facebook have garnered sympathies from Russia to Texas, while other teens have posted their own videos to YouTube in reaction to the suffering and harassment Amanda faced and which led to her suicide.

Ministry of Education anti-bullying staff fear that footage of Amanda’s video could trigger other vulnerable teens like those suffering from bullying to commit suicide.

Amanda’s mother, Carol Todd, however, wants the video to be used to help others who may be suffering as her 15-year-old daughter did.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation says the ministry’s request ignores the reality that many kids have seen the video and need or want to talk about it.

And so they should.

But some haven’t seen the video and don’t want to, nor do they want to talk about it, for whatever reason.

That is their choice, or that of their parents.

No one should be forced to watch the video.

At the same time, no one who wants to should be denied that opportunity, especially those who it may help.

Rather than restrict the video from classrooms, or to ignore the ministry’s request and do so anyway, why not show the video at lunch in the library or cafeteria or gymnasium of high schools, at least, and host a discussion afterwards. Send home a permission form to parents. Make available staff and resources at the viewing for students who might have questions afterwards or want to seek help.

For the ministry to suggest that the video doesn’t help address bullying issues is rather simplistic, because the video touches other important topics, as well, such as online safety and social media responsibility.

Would the ministry rather a troubled teen watch the video at home, alone?

Amanda made the video because she felt that way, so others wouldn’t also.

The discussion has already begun. Let it continue.

 

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

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