We had a broad list of things that jumbled together missions, values, goals, action items and guiding principles.We reviewed other cyberbullying-related action plans by governmental agencies, such as Nova Scotia's and Ireland's and looked at guidance documents on the issues from teachers' associations and leading digital literacy experts. We pulled together everything we have written, published and created for StopCyberbullying, too. That was the easy part.
Then, we built an action plan working group of young people (4th - 12 grade) from Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario, First Nation and newcomers groups, adults from across Canada representing government, education, health and wellness, innovation, law, law enforcement, the digital industry, small businesses, researchers and faith-based groups. We also involved victim's rights and assistance experts and families of the most well-known Canadian bullycides. And finally, we turned to the leading experts in the field to help weigh in and contribute to the process and planning.
With as many in the room as we could fit, we took the draft planning and, working with a local facilitator, hammered out the mission, principles, goals and values. That took almost 2-1/2 hours to get the language right and make sure the young participants were on board. For the most part, the facilitation proceeded as it does with large corporate brainstorming and advisory boards. But with all the young people, we had to place the brainstorming sheets lower do they could reach. And we had to define words like "stakeholders," "community" and "sustainability."
In the early hours, the conversation was more vibrant and, in some cases, more heated. As we tired and the young participants' blood sugar declined (until we revived them with pizza), we all became glassy-eyed. The values, goals, principles and mission were finalized, in language the young people approved. The actual action plan, where the steps were described, was approved, but they relied on adults working on the language to formalize it.
Unfortunately, given our upcoming presentation to the Premier, that task fell on me. Notwithstanding all the well-meaning guidance to remove words such as "lexicon" and "stakeholders" I fell into the common rut that most lawyers, even those writing for consumer audiences, fall into, such as using jargon, longer phrases to say simple things and US spelling, especially when referring to best practices, standards, procedures, etc.
Once exams are over next week, the young participants have promised to rewrite it in their own words. (Although I have little faith in their spelling. :-))
Their mission, goals, values and guiding principles, in their facilitated own words appears below:
All young people being able to use digital technology free from fear of cyberbullying, personal attacks, threats, impersonation and other forms of digital harassment.
SCB Canada will empower youth and engage our society to identify, prevent, and address all forms of cyberbullying and digital harassment, including personal attacks, threats and impersonations.
StopCyberbullying Canada will operate and collaborate consistently with the follow values and guiding principles. StopCyberbullying Canada and its programs and partners will, or will be: