School dropouts likely victims of bullying: poll

Youths who drop out of school are likely the victims of bullying -  that's one of the findings of a Léger poll out today as part of the annual Hooked on School Days campaign to fight Quebec’s high drop-out rate. The campaign begins today and runs until Friday.

The poll found that 52% of young dropouts in Quebec were bullied in school.

Spokesperson for the campaign Audrey McKinnon said it shows that bullying can have a major impact on young people's lives.

"Imagine going through that, spread out over many days, many weeks, many months - do you want to go back to school to go through that? Of course not," said McKinnon in an interview with CJAD 800 News.

McKinnon said it's one of many factors that can make someone want to drop out: 

  • boredom (75% of poll respondents)
  • family troubles (51%)
  • getting no help or advice when getting to the point of leaving school (29%)
  • frequent or occasional drug or alcohol consumption (43%)
  • learning disabilities (28%)

Almost a quarter of poll respondents thought about dropping out when they were 13 or 14; 7% had those same thoughts in elementary school.

McKinnon said a lot can be done by parents, friends and teachers alike to encourage and support kids, not only to keep them in school but also help bring them back if they do drop out.

"Everyone can make a difference," said McKinnon.