The anti-bullying message is something we hear everywhere, including in schools, at home and in the media.
And we may be hearing that message loud and clear from the Town of Essex.
"Any amount of bullying is too much, in my view," says Essex Deputy mayor, Richard Meloche.
He’s taking charge on the issue, after taking calls from residents about bullying in town parks. Meloche won't center out which parks, but wants to address the issue head-on before it gets out of hand.
"The residents that were talking to me said they're just not going to be going down there,” says Meloche. “They feel intimidated, and don't want to subject their kids to this kind of treatment."
Of course, it's not just an Essex problem. Just last month a 33-year-old woman was assaulted by a mob of teens and adolescents at a Saskatchewan park, the whole scene aught on camera by a bystander.
Essex OPP confirms it has received a small number of complaints.
“We agree that visitors of any age to area parks should be able to attend without worry of being mistreated in any way,” Const. Jim Root tells CTV Windsor through email. “Additional proactive patrols have been instituted to let those responsible for this type of behaviour know that it will not be tolerated in the Town of Essex nor any other Essex County OPP policed municipality.”
The deputy mayor tells CTV News a "no bullying" bylaw may be another step for council to consider.
“If we charge you, you're going to be permanently removed from any parks in this town. Is that what you want?” asks Meloche. “It may give them some second thoughts, if there are consequences with it."
Meloche says council will explore best practices and even pitch ideas of their own, such as more proactive social media from the town or even added signage.
“It seems silly that we'd have to put a sign up that says no bullying, or no foul language, but if that's what it takes to make it work, it's a good option to make sure it doesn't happen," Meloche says.
The idea is already drawing feedback from park users.
"Have it. Do it! With all the stuff that's happening in the world, it's a simple thing,” says park user Debbie Marchinko. “Even the dog park has signage telling you what you can and can’t do. Why not? The swimming pool has that. There should be rules at the park. I think so, yes."
"I think it's a great idea,” says Donna Raymond. “Anything that will deter bullying, I think is fantastic. This day in age, I think you do everything you can."
Police believe not all incidents are being called in and are encouraging the public to contact police when bullying happens so they can attend and identify those responsible.
Town administration didn't want to speak to the issue until the motion has been formally put forward by Meloche, which will happen at the next council meeting on June 17.