Hanna, Alberta – Thus far the anti-bullying bylaw introduced on November 13 has been having the intended effect.
According to Constable Jennifer Brewer, calls directly related to bullying have declined compared to the same time last year.
“We usually get calls before the Christmas and February breaks,” said Brewer. Unlike previous years, there have been no calls to report bullying prior to the holidays or, thus far, the February break.
Instead the RCMP have been receiving more calls from people, mostly parents, inquiring how the bylaw is enforced and what constitutes a breach.
The anti-bullying bylaw covers situations where someone is consistently abused verbally and/or physically without crossing over into a criminal offence. If the RCMP find a reported occurrence of bullying to follow a trend in severity and frequency the offending party can be fined $250 for the first offence and up to $1,000 for further breaches of the bylaw, plus the possibility of jail time or community service.
Anyone found to have encouraged bullying may face a fine of $100.
The Town Office has been receiving positive feedback from the community, primarily among parents and adults who had been bullied in their youth. There have also been some negative comments coming from people living outside the area, namely from Calgary.
While there has not yet been a need to enforce the anti-bullying bylaw, there have been a few cases that came close to the bylaws purview but were reported and treated as criminal code violations.