#CutTheBull Campaign Launched in Brockville Area with Teen on School Tour Telling Students about his Bullying Experience

Brockville & District Shrine Club begins #CutTheBull campaign, inviting a teenage Shriners Hospitals for Children® – Canada patient to local schools to empower kids to stop bullying and promote acceptance

“It was Inspiring,” said Angus, 10, who is finishing grade 5 at Front of Yonge Elementary School. “It just made me feel good inside. I hope it stops bullying.”

Shriners Hospitals for Children® – Canada patient Jeffrey, 19, was born without a right hand or a right foot. He faced over 7 years of bullying due to kids’ perception of his disability and was beaten-up by a group of 12 boys in grade 7. He now tours schools across the country with Canada Shriners Hospital as part of its #CutTheBull anti-bullying campaign, telling students about his experience and how he overcame bullying. A Shriners Hospital representative then speaks to students about bullying in general, giving students advice on how to concretely deal with bullying when faced with it.

Last Friday, the #CutTheBull campaign was officially launched in the Brockville area at Front of Yonge Elementary School and Académie catholique Ange- Gabriel. “Through his powerful testimony, Jeffrey was able to reach all of our students. I feel this presentation gave them a clear understanding of what bullying is, and the effects it can have,” reacted Lyna Labelle, Principal of Académie catholique Ange-Gabriel. “More importantly, the advice received will give them strategies to know how to react if they’re victimized or witness bullying. I’m hopeful that this presentation will begin a ripple effect starting with all the young students who attended, and that it will reach our community as a whole,” she continued. Payge, who is 11 and finishing grade 6 at Front of Yonge Elementary School added: “I could really relate to (the presentation) a lot, because I’ve been bullied in the past years and it’s just really inspiring.”

The #CutTheBull campaign was launched in the area thanks to the Brockville & District Shrine Club, part of the Tunis Shriners. They helped organize the school presentations and plan to be doing more of them in the fall. “This presentation is powerful and a great tool for students of all ages. The children always have many questions and seem to really relate to Jeffrey as he’s still a teenager,” commented Doug Hone, former college counselor and member of the Brockville & District Shrine Club.

Bullying is a problem across Canada: 75% of Canadians say they’ve been affected by bullying.1 For children with visible scars or disabilities, the numbers are higher. Children with physical disabilities are 2-3 times as likely to be bullied.2 “Many Canada Shriners Hospital patients have visible scars or disabilities, making bullying an unfortunately common problem. That’s why the hospital has joined the fight to stop bullying with its #CutTheBull campaign,” explained Peter Rippstein, Tunis Shriners representative on the Board of Governors of Canada Shriners Hospital. “Tunis Shriners are proud to support and promote the #CutTheBull campaign. It is one more example of our holistic approach to patient care,” stated Bruce Ricker, Chairman of Public Relations, Tunis Shriners.

Jeffrey’s Story

Born without a right hand or right foot, Jeffrey, 19, first faced bullying in grade one. It lasted through elementary school. In grade seven the bullying turned violent, with a group of boys throwing rocks and food at him and yanking away his prosthetic leg. The police got involved and Jeffrey turned inwards, no longer wanting to go to school. Jeffrey turned to his friends and parents, as well as his school’s principal and psychologist. “I blamed myself for a long time,” Jeffrey admitted. “But I realized that I don’t have to change for these bullies. They should learn to accept me. I now know that if I can overcome bullying, I can overcome anything.”

“I just thought Jeffrey was inspiring – the stuff that he’s gone through,” admitted Ben, 11, in grade 5 at Front of Yonge Elementary. “And in the future, I think of doing of stopping bullying and stuff, and going into maybe the campaign that you guys are doing.”

The #CutTheBull Presentation

Jeffrey talks to students about growing up with a disability, his bullying experience and how he overcame it. He exemplifies how everyone must focus on their abilities, instead of what could hold them back. Canada Shriners Hospital has developed a complete anti-bullying presentation, with the help of Daphna Leibovici, Violence Prevention Specialist at the English Montreal School Board (EMSB).

Canada Shriners Hospital has given its #CutTheBull presentation at over 50 schools and to over 9,200 students in Quebec and Ontario so far and seeks to organize more presentations across the country in the next school year.

Jeffrey is not the hospital’s only patient on tour. Nia, 12, and Saoud, 15, are also speaking to students about their bullying experiences, encouraging them to #CutTheBull.

Alec, who’s 12 and finishing grade 6 at Front of Yonge Elementary said he learned that it’s important to stick-up for anyone no matter what. Gwyneth, 8, and in grade 3 at the same school added: “I learned to not be rude to other people and make them feel good inside.” Lucan, 10, and in grade 4 says: “I just learned that anything can be possible and you don’t have to do it (all) yourself”

More about the #CutTheBull campaign

Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada provides more than ultra-specialized orthopaedic and neuromuscular care to children. We provide a holistic approach to care offering psychological support, rehabilitation, life skills training and even school outreach programs that help children with physical differences feel confident. Our #CutTheBull campaign seeks to be a prime example of this approach. Visit CutTheBull.org for more information.

About Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada

Established in Montreal in 1925, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada is the only Canadian establishment within the network of 22 Shriners hospitals. This bilingual, short-term, acute care hospital provides ultra-specialized orthopaedic care to children from coast to coast in Canada, the U.S. and around the world. The mission of the hospital is to promote health and provide treatment and rehabilitation to infants, children and young adults with orthopaedic and neuromuscular problems such as scoliosis, osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease), club feet, hip dysplasia, leg length discrepancies and cerebral palsy.

The hospital is committed to excellence and innovation in clinical practice, research and education and to ensuring patients and their families are treated in a caring, family-friendly environment. Affiliated with McGill University, the hospital provides clinical experience and teaching for residents and allied professionals within its outstanding new facility on the Glen site. The hospital is present in communities across Canada, thanks to telemedicine, outreach clinics and satellite clinics.

To book a school presentation or for more information, contact:

Caroline Phaneuf

Communications & Marketing Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada

Call or text: 514 778-5092

cphaneuf@shrinenet.org

Canada Shriners Hospital patient Jeffrey with Brockville & District Shrine Club and Tunis Shriners and students Payge, Alec, Angus, Gwyneth, Lucan and Ben at Front of Yonge Elementary School.

Canada Shriners Hospital patient Jeffrey giving the #CutTheBull presentation at Front of Yonge Elementary School.

Canada Shriners Hospital patient Jeffrey speaking to students at Académie catholique Ange-Gabriel after the #CutTheBull presentation.

Canada Shriners Hospital patient Jeffrey with Brockville & District Shrine Club, Tunis Shriners and students from Académie catholique Ange-Gabriel (during a pyjama day!)

Canada Shriners Hospital patient Jeffrey giving the #CutTheBull presentation at Académie catholique Ange-Gabriel.

 

1 Prevnet,-s http://www.prevnet.ca/research/bullyingtatistics

2 National Bullying Prevention Center, www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/students-with-disabilities/