Anti-bullying advocate stands behind draft bylaw
An advocate against bullying is pleased with the latest draft of the City of Airdrie’s Public Behaviour Bylaw as presented at an open house on Sept. 10 at City Hall.
The bylaw, which is slated to address a section on bullying, was last brought before council on July 2 during a public input session.
At that time questions were raised over the definition of bullying. In the document, bullying is now defined in the bylaw as: verbal or physical abuse, threats, taunts, teasing name calling or repeated abusive communication, direct or through any medium whatsoever.
Tara Murphy, mother of self-proclaimed bullying victim Mackenzie, said the bylaw is comprehensive.
“I’m satisfied with the definition that they have come up with,” said Tara. “I’m really glad that they’ve included the part about ‘through any means whatsoever,’ because so much of bullying nowadays happens online (with) cyber bullying.”
Both Tara and her daughter were pleased with the turnout at the open house and Mackenzie was especially glad to see that City staff was so thorough with the bylaw itself.
“It’s great that my friends came out to this to support me and one of my teachers came out,” said Murphy. “I really hope that this bylaw gets passed, but I don’t want it to be something that is just slapped together, I want them (council) to make sure everything is in order before it’s passed.”
Close to 30 residents attended the open house to discuss concerns and give feedback to City staff members.
Airdrie City Clerk Sharon Pollyck said it was important to host an open house because not many people attended the July 2 public input session.
“The public input sessions can be a bit intimidating for people to get up in front of council and speak,” said Pollyck. “People are a bit more comfortable in an open house setting where they aren’t called upon to speak.”
The Public Behaviour Bylaw is scheduled to go before council on Sept. 16 and Pollyck says open houses are important to ensure bylaws are polished before they are brought to council.
Airdrie resident and aldermanic candidate Darrell Belyk attended the open house and has also been an advocate for the anti-bullying clause in the Public Behaviour Bylaw.
Belyk said he’s pleased with the progress being made but there are still some details that need ironing out.
“I think there needs to be a little bit of work done because a lot of this looks at bullying among our youth,” said Belyk.
“Senior abuse is a problem in this country as well and that needs to be looked at too. Bullying is a complex issue, there is no one solution, it’s a culture change that has to be made and that can take a few years.”
Alderman Fred Burley said he was pleased with the turnout and expressed the importance of holding an open house when discussing bylaws.
“Open houses are definitely needed, we’ll look at the results and get a feel for what the public wants to see,” said Burley.
“We can go into other communities and see what they’ve done, but they might not have the same demographic we have, so we have to look at what works for us.”