Tips for students

If you are a student who has experienced, witnessed, or instigated an act of religious bullying, please know that there are several ways to respond to the incident.

Federal laws in Canada and the US also speak against all forms of bullying, including religious bullying. (Provincial and state-level laws exist as well in most cases.) If a religious bullying incident happens physically, verbally, or socially in-person, or online with someone from your school, the teacher and staff at your elementary or secondary school are required by law to respond.

Unfortunately, studies show that many teacher and school staff still don’t understand what religious bullying is or that it exists. In some cases, teachers do not understand because they are simply not informed (and not because they do not want to help). In other cases, some teachers are uncomfortable responding for personal reasons or because of constraints they have at the school or school community. If you have reported a religious bullying incident and people at your school have not responded, please speak with another adult in your community who supports you and you can trust, such as your parent, relative, coach/team leader, or a religious leader. Let them know about the incident and refer to the laws that exist in your context. I am listing a few here so that you and your supportive adult can be more confident in responding to the matter.

Canada: 

  • Quebec: Bill 56, with more details from the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur here.
  • Ontario: Bill 13, with more details from the Ontario Ministry of Education here.

United States

Of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at alice.chan@mail.mcgill.ca.

In some North American contexts and communities, religious bullying is a realistic and consistent concern. To learn more about religious bullying and the experiences of others, I encourage you to review the reports that are posted on this page here.