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Student video tackles gay bullying

No longer do bullies only torment students in the hallways, now they can attack anywhere and anyone.

Websites, social media and even group discussions help to bring the issues surrounding bullying to light, in the hope more people will take a stand against it.

Here in Kelowna a middle school is doing its part to get involved in the conversation.

Titled the 'Brave Project', Dr. Knox video production teacher Bruce Watts asked his grade nine class to create a public service announcement related to bullying, using any topic of their choosing.

"As part of project base learning, where students get to use their own voice and choice, they got to come up with a topic that was unique to them, which allows them to take ownership and raises the level of motivation, " explains Watts.

A topic that garnered a lot of attention and a lot of hits on YouTube, once the video was posted online, was that of gay bullying.

Kristy Baillie and her group chose the topic, because she says a lot of her friends are gay or bi.

"They get bullied. It is not as commonly talked about as it should be, and it should be put to a stop."

However bullying against gays is the second highest reason students are bullied at the middle school level according to statistics produced in the class' research.

"We weren't able to specify if that was a British Columbian statistic," says Watts. "(But) it still really resonated with us that it is still not something people are comfortable doing, revealing about their sexuality at the middle school level, and I think this group just really wanted to ask that question 'why is that'."

While Baillie isn't gay herself she took on the role of the victim saying she was comfortable playing the part in the project, and was even encouraged by her peers to do so.

"I found it very interesting to play it, because I have a friend who was coaching me the whole time and she is a lesbian, so she was like, ' don't act too stereotypical," says the grade nine student.

Of the nine videos that were produced topics ranged from cyber bullying to physical bulling, but Watts says all were kept relevant to issues at Dr. Knox.

"We had all the students in the school watch the student created messages and I think that alone kind of says to students at our school this is where we stand and because the grade nines created the videos and they are the leaders at the school a lot of kids responded to that."

Another video that connected with the students was that of bullying between friends, when a trust is broken.

Scotia Hewitt and Ali Lea helped to produce a video about when private photos are shared online by someone that person considers a friend.

"It shows that all it takes is one little action that can totally destroy a friendship. It just reminds people they have to be careful of what they send out and be respectful and consider other people's feelings," says Hewitt of the video.

The school will vote on the videos and the top four will be re-shot for television. The class is also entering several contests to have their videos appear on anti-bullying websites.

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