Grand Erie District School Board is committed to providing a safe, inclusive and positive space for all students and staff. Our school communities are places where all students and staff need to be respected, welcomed, nurtured, engaged and encouraged.
Grand Erie District School Board does not condone bullying, and it will not be accepted on school property, on school buses, or in any other circumstances (i.e.: online), as engaging in bullying will have a negative impact on the school climate.
Bullying is aggressive behaviour that is typically repeated over time. It is meant to cause harm, fear, distress or create a negative environment at school for another person. It is a dynamic of unhealthy interaction that can take many forms. It can be: physical (e.g.: hitting, pushing, tripping etc.), verbal (e.g.: name calling, mocking, or making sexist, racist or homophobic comments), social (e.g. excluding others from a group, spreading gossip or rumours), and or through the use of technology (e.g. cyberbullying, spreading rumours, images or hurtful comments through the use of email, cell phones, text messaging, internet web sites, or other technology).
Our work and support engaging in healthy relationships happens each day, all year long. In November every year Grand Erie recognizes Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week. http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/safeschools/prevention.html Highlighting the importance of the impact of unhealthy relationships and power imbalance promotes our school’s awareness of the potential harm that is caused. During this week we also focus on skill building and problem solving to equip students with tools.
What Can Schools Do?
· Ongoing education for staff, children and parents about bullying prevention.
· Provide a safe environment through good supervision, clear rules and consequences for bullying behaviour, open communication and problem solving with students, staff and parents.
· Provide a positive and inclusive school climate.
· Work collaboratively with community agencies to promote bullying awareness and intervention.
· Hold Restorative Justice Circle meetings, to repair the harm caused by bullying incidents.
· Provide short term counseling through Student Support Services (e.g. Social Worker, Child and Youth Worker)
What Can Parents do?
· Communicate with your child about the problem-find out if they are experiencing or witnessing bullying at school and in the community.
· Communicate with your child’s school. Keep in regular contact with the school and work on solutions together, involving your child as appropriate. Be sure to mention any changes in behaviour and/or emotion you may be seeing from your child.
· Help your child with strategies. Teach your child assertiveness skills and problem-solving skills. Encourage your child to be a good bystander.
· Help your child with the skills to distinguish Conflict vs Bullying
· Encourage your child to seek support from trusted friends and adults, and report incidents that happen at school.
· Build your child’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Provide opportunities for positive socializing and encourage participation in activities your child enjoys. Help your child to see his/her own strengths.
What Can Students Do?
· Make friends who will stand up for you and stand by you.
· Talk to a friend or adult for support.
· Practice responses to bullying at home. Make role play a positive experience.
· Practice showing confidence, firm voice, eye contact, stand up tall.
· Stay in the sight of an adult.
· Have a plan for dealing with bullying (e.g. walk away, report, stand up for yourself)
· Be a good bystander-stick up for others who are being bullied.
· Remember that reporting is not tattling. It is the right thing to do to help someone who may be hurt.
· Offer support to students who are targets of bullying. Let them know that you think it is wrong and you do not agree with it.
· Use power in numbers. Sticking with a group provides safety and support. Standing up against bullying together is easier than standing alone.
How to be An Active Bystander
1. Call attention to a situation – "Hey! What’s going on?"
2. Offer help – "Is there something I/we can do?"
3. Express disapproval – "Stop that!"
4. Recruit Allies; Make suggestions for what other bystanders might do – "You go get help and I will stay here."
5. Stop negative bystanders – "When you laugh you encourage them."
6. Support the target – "Do you want them to stop that?"
7. Raise the target’s spirits – "I am sorry this happened or, that they did that."
8. Support individuals in non-harmful action – "Could I help you figure this out?"
System and Provincial Support
Most of the work to address unhealthy relationships happens at the school level. Here are links to the policies and procedures for Grand Erie and the Province of Ontario that guide this work.
Grand Erie’s Safe and Inclusive Schools policies and procedures:
Safe and Accepting Schools provincial policies:
Policy/Program Memorandum 9: Reporting of Children in Need of Protection
Policy/Program Memorandum 120: Reporting Violent Incidents to the Ministry of Education
Policy/Program Memorandum 123: Safe Arrivals
Policy/Program Memorandum 128: The Provincial Code of Conduct and the School Board Codes of Conduct
Policy/Program Memorandum 141: School Board Programs for Students on Long-Term Suspensions
Policy/Program Memorandum 142: School Board Programs for Expelled Students
Policy/Program Memorandum 144: Bullying Prevention and Intervention
Policy/Program Memorandum 145: Progressive Discipline and Promoting Positive Student Behaviour
Safe at School https://www.safeatschool.ca/
The Canadian Safe Schools Network https://cssn.me/resources-for-parents