Pickering student pens book on coping with bullying

Published January 25, 2023 at 8:52 am

Brooklyn Doucette

Peer relationships often define a student’s school experience.

What do you do when a peer relationship goes south? This was the case for one student who turned her experiences into what she hopes can be a resource that could help others.

“I experienced bullying and thought that if I put my experience into a book or just some words to paper it may help someone else,” says Brooklyn Doucette who recently completed her Grade 9 year.

Brooklyn wrote her book Navigating Life while completing elementary school. In the book she writes about how to deal with bullying.

“The book uses a lot of metaphors to compare bullying to stages of driving. Like using fuel is like pumping you up and giving you the confidence to deal with bullies,” said Brooklyn’s mom Crystal Doucette.

“She received positive feedback from teachers at her elementary school as they saw her come into her own in understanding and overcoming this situation,” she added. “It made me proud as a parent to see how far she has come and has developed.”

It was a struggle during COVID-19 to get the book published but they were able to get back on track. In all, it took almost a year to complete with help from family and others. Brooklyn describes the book as something for everyone who would like more strategies on dealing with bullying.

“I was really excited, when my family members and friends asked if they could have the book,” she said. “My Vice Principal cried when she read the book. I knew it was a good cry and people were happy for me.”

Lauren McPhee, a Psychometrist with the Durham District School Board who worked with Brooklyn to overcome some of the challenges in writing the book, described the young author as an “empathetic and kind young person” who is using her own experiences with social conflict to help others. “She hopes to send the message that students are not alone and that they too can get through difficult times. The analogy she uses in her book is relatable and hopeful.”

Since publishing the book Brooklyn has moved on to high school and has enjoyed relationships that are more positive and uplifting, but it wasn’t the move to high school that changed her current and future relationships, McPhee noted. It was Brooklyn implementing the strategies she worked on with her counsellors and others to better cope and succeed in managing her relationships.

All students within the school board are encouraged to reach out to a guidance counsellor, student success teacher, special education teacher or classroom teacher if they are struggling with the experiences of bullying or if it feels like they may be working through a mental health issue. The board also has a team of psychological services and social work staff such as McPhee to provide professional and confidential support, along with mental health and addiction nurses and community-based mental health workers.

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