N.B. high school principal teams up with BullyingCanada to raise awareness about bullying

A New Brunswick high school principal hopes to log at least 3.65 million steps over the next year to raise awareness about bullying.

Bruce Van Stone launched the Steps To Respect campaign on July 1 in partnership with BullyingCanada, Canada's only national anti-bullying charity.

The principal at McAdam High School has spent years in the education system, and says he's seen the toll bullying can have on youth.

"I've seen depression, I've seen a lot of anxiety, I've seen situations where people have tried to take their lives," Van Stone said. "I've seen it all."

"We do our best in the system to eliminate bullying, but of course it's a societal issue not just a school one."

Van Stone worked closely with BullyingCanada as a learning specialist for bullying awareness and prevention with the Department of Education, and said he wanted to do something to show how determined and passionate he is about the charity and anti-bullying.

So with the help and encouragement of others, he plans to walk at least 10,000 steps — or about eight kilometres — a day over the next year.

"What I'm trying to do is encourage youth especially to be as active and engaged in activities and different focuses in their life, which minimizes the desire or even just the time or focus to be looking at bullying or doing other things that might not be so positive," Van Stone said.

He's encouraging others to contribute to the campaign by logging their step count on the Steps To Respect Facebook page.

Van Stone also has a goal of raising $100,000 in personal and corporate donations for BullyingCanada.

"Nobody should have to suffer at the hands of somebody else that's potentially harming them and using power over them, which is the definition of bullying really," he said.

You can donate to the campaign on the BullyingCanada website.