We Need Education on Bullying in our Schools
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I am deeply saddened to see the amount of bullying going on in schools all over the Country. It's time for a wake up call. Maybe then our children will be able to attend school and feel safe.
Canada ranked a dismal 26th and 27th out of 35 countries on measures of bullying and victimization, according to a recent World Health Organization survey.
Canada’s low international ranking suggests that other countries have been preventing bullying problems more effectively than Canada. One of the reasons for this is our lack of a national campaign to address bullying problems. The high proportions of Canadian students who report bullying or being bullied confirm that this is an important social problem for Canada.
In Ontario’s initial anti-bullying legislation, the Safe Schools Act, vice-principals and principals were recast as police, required to conduct formal investigations of bullying complaints and penalize offenders according to a gradated system. It’s also known as the “zero tolerance” act.
The act led to more suspensions—penalties that the Ontario Human Rights Commission later found to disproportionally discriminate against racial minority students and students with a disability—and did little to change the school culture. Zero tolerance has since been refined—for example, Bill 157, introduced in 2010, emphasizes communicating bullying incidents with parents.
"The inability of principals and teachers to do something constructive is depressing to me,” says Debra Pepler, a psychology professor at York University and co-director of PREVNet, a Canadian bullying prevention think tank. “We haven’t trained them adequately in understanding children’s development. You hear principals saying to get thicker skin, just ignore it, walk away.”
Educate About Bullying:
Training school staff and students to prevent and address bullying can help sustain bullying prevention efforts over time. There are no federal mandates for bullying curricula or staff training. The following are some examples of options schools can consider:
Activities to Teach Students About Bullying:
Schools don’t always need formal programs to help students learn about bullying prevention. Schools can incorporate the topic of bullying prevention in lessons and activities.
Staff Training on Bullying Prevention:
To ensure that bullying prevention efforts are successful, all school staff need to be trained on what bullying is, what the school’s policies and rules are, and how to enforce the rules. Training may take many forms: staff meetings, one-day training sessions, and teaching through modeling preferred behavior. Schools may choose any combination of these training options based on available funding, staff resources, and time.
Training can be successful when staff are engaged in developing messages and content, and when they feel that their voices are heard. Learning should be relevant to their roles and responsibilities to help build buy-in.
Goal of this Petition:
Children need to be encouraged to report bullying and be given multiple strategies on how to make these reports. Responsible adults must convey the message that they want to know about children’s experiences and that it is an adult’s job to help make the bullying stop.
The responsibility to protect children from all forms of abuse, including bullying, is the responsibility of parents, teachers, and other adults in the community who are in contact with children and youth. At home, parents are responsible for their children's safety and well-being. Adults in school, on sports teams, and in community activities are all responsible for the safety and well-being of children and youth in their care.
Please sign this petition and ask the Ministry of Education to start training School Staff on bullying prevention and incorporating bullying prevention in classroom lessons and activities.
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