THUNDER BAY – A determined group of people were standing in the cold and the snow at the Catholic Education Centre to bring awareness of bullying to the school board trustees. The issue according to Mandi O’Connor is that the school trustees may not be getting the full story. “The story is that the policy reads zero tolerance for bullying, but the actions of the staff are often quite difference. There is a stark contrast to the Catholic virtues that the Board is mandated to protect.”
Parents Concerned with Catholic Board
The issue of treating people with respect and dignity has remained paramount with Pope Francis who is just completing his first year in the Vatican. This “time of mercy” was Pope Francis’ first point of reflection according to the March 6th message from the Vatican. “Today, we forget everything too easily, including the teaching of the Church! This is in part inevitable, but we must not forget the important content, the great intuitions and that which has been consigned to the People of God. And divine mercy is among these. … It is up to us, as ministers of the Church, to keep this message alive, above all in preaching and in our gestures, in signs and in pastoral choices, such as the decision to restore priority to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and at the same time to works of mercy”.
Pope Francis said, “Do you cry? How many of us cry when faced with the suffering of a child, the destruction of a family, before the many people who cannot find their path? The tears of a priest … Do you cry, or is this a clergy that has lost its tears? Do you cry for your people? Do you battle with the Lord for your people, like Abraham fought?”
Mandi O’Connor said, “This issue is getting a lot of attention, in part thanks to social media. Parents are now getting in touch with each other directly, and getting the full story, and parents could never do that in the past. Social media is a double-edged sword, in many ways, while parents can now communicate with each other, students are now able to use that same social media to share images, taunting, and other bullying issues.”
Outside the Catholic Education Centre on West Victoria Avenue, parents, and students were carrying signs.