Safe Schools School Newsletter Message, August 2012
On June 5, 2012, the Accepting Schools Act~passed third and final reading in the Ontario Legislature. This Act requires all school boards to take preventative measures against bullying, issue tougher consequences for bullying, and support students who want to promote understanding and respect for all. The legislation builds upon the Equity and Inclusive Education, and Safe Schools Strategies that help make Ontario schools safe, inclusive and accepting places to learn. The Ministry of Education has developed an implementation plan for the Accepting Schools Act that will span the 2012 - 2013 school year. Many of the components of the Accepting Schools Act are already found in Halton’s Bullying Prevention and Intervention Policy, Behaviour Discipline School Safety Policy and Bullying Prevention and Intervention Guidelines.
Throughout the upcoming school year, we will update our policies and guidelines to ensure our implementation of this Act is comprehensive. In addition, each school in Halton will reconvene their Safe Schools Action Team. Teams will be responsible for creating and implementing a Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan. These plans will be shared with students, staff members, School Councils and posted on school websites.
To learn more about the Accepting Schools Act, please visit the Ministry of Education’s Parent Information site at:
To achieve an equitable and inclusive school climate, school boards and schools will strive to ensure that all members of the school community feel safe, comfortable and accepted. We want all staff and students to value diversity and to demonstrate respect for others and a commitment to establishing a just, caring society. – Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy, 2009
WHAT IS BULLYING?
Bullying is typically a form of repeated, persistent and aggressive behaviour directed at an individual that is intended to cause (or is known to cause) fear, distress and/or harm to another person’s body, feelings, self-esteem, or reputation. Bullying occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance.
Bullying takes many forms, and can include different behaviours, such as:
physical violence and attacks
threats and intimidation
extortion or stealing of money and possessions
exclusion from the peer group
Bullying is the assertion of power through aggression. Its forms change with age: school playground bullying, sexual harassment, date violence, assault, marital violence, child abuse, workplace harassment and elder abuse (Pepler and Craig, 1997)
CAN I MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
Research shows that bullying will stop when adults in authority and peers get involved .
Bullying is a learned behaviour and behaviours can be changed.
Contribute positively to the climate of the school.
Take responsibility for your own actions.
Respect the personal safety, property, and rights of all members of the school community.
Report any perceived incidents of bullying behaviour to an adult.
Encourage and assist your child in following the school’s rules.
Encourage and assist your child in taking responsibility for his/her own actions.
Show an active interest in your child’s schoolwork and progress.
Assist school staff in dealing with disciplinary issues involving your child.
Empower students to make positive contributions to the school climate and to be positive leaders in their classroom, school and community.
Maintain consistent standards of behaviour for all students.
Report and respond to any incident that endangers the safety and well-being of members of the school community.
Engage everyone, including bystanders, in responding effectively to incidents which endanger the safety and well-being of members of the school community.
Provide ongoing support to youth who are being bullied and who bully others.
Report to parents and use a clear process to respond to bullying issues.
Use a progressive discipline model when working with students.
Ensure staff model respect and encourage children to model respect for members of the school community.
Engage in the active support of the community with partners and agencies.
If you have questions or would like more information about our Bullying Prevention and/or Intervention initiatives, please call one of the administrators at MSB.