A group of students in Summerland decided to take anti-bullying awareness to the next level, filming their own experiment while asking the public to be more than just a bystander.
The five students took to the streets and acted out a scenario where one member began bullying another in full view of the public. It came complete with all the aspects associated with bullying, like yelling, shoving and punching.
While the two members were engaged, the others hid nearby and videotaped the reactions of ordinary people who happened to be milling about the area in their cars or on the sidewalks.
“The responses we got varied from the extremely positive to outrageously negative,” says Teaghan Drewhitt who played the part of the ‘bully’.
“Definitely more people drove by, turned a blind eye, didn’t look twice and didn’t intervene. They did nothing. The number of people that did that outnumbered the people that did stop greatly.”
He estimates that for every one person who tried to intervene, approximately five or six others kept going and did not try to help the ‘victim’.
“This was a test. We weren’t 100 per cent sure which way this was going to go. (But) being a smaller community, we definitely expected people to have our backs.”
The idea for this experiment came about after former BC Lions player Angus Reid visited the school to talk about bullying, an issue that is prevalent at most high schools.
“It was actually pretty real. Bullying is a big thing around the world,” says Navi Raike, who played the victim.
“Being in a high school, it happens a lot here and more in bigger schools. Racism or getting called names, it happens everywhere. People thought it was real, people intervened and some people didn’t and that was heartbreaking."
Drewhitt says their message is simple:
“You can wear the pink shirt, you can say you’re against bullying… but it’s the people who take action that are the real heroes.”