Bullying Prevention Plan and Safe and Equitable School Strategy
SCHOOL: Elora Public School
DATE: September 30, 2023
We, at Elora Public School, are committed to making our school a safe, inclusive, and equitable environment for all. We treat each other with respect and we will refuse to tolerate inequities in any form at our school. We know that a “whole-school” approach where all stakeholders are involved in supporting our students helps create and maintain a positive school climate.
Definition of Bullying
“Bullying” means aggressive and typically repeated behaviour by a student where,
- The behavior is intended by the student to have the effect of, or the student ought to know that the behavior would be likely to have the effect of,
- causing harm, fear or distress to another individual, including physical, psychological, social or academic harm, harm to the individual’s reputation or harm to the individual’s property, or
- creating a negative environment at a school for another individual, and
- The behavior occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance between the student and the individual based on factors such as size, strength, age, intelligence, peer group power, economic status, social status, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, family circumstances, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, disability or special education needs.
Bullying takes different forms of contexts with age. It can be physical, verbal, social/emotional or through electronic means (cyber-bullying). Bystanders contribute to bullying by doing nothing to prevent it or become actively involved in supporting it.
“Cyberbullying” includes electronic communication that:
- Is used to upset, threaten or embarrass another person.
- Uses email, cell phones, text messages and social media sites to threaten, harass, embarrass, socially exclude or damage reputations and friendships.
- includes put downs, insults and can also involve spreading rumours, sharing private information, photos or videos or threatening to harm someone.
Examples of Bullying
- PHYSICAL AGGRESSION: e.g., hitting, pushing, stealing, damaging property
- VERBAL AGGRESSION: e.g., insults, threats, taunting someone in a hurtful way, name calling, making sexist, racist or homophobic comments
- SOCIAL OR RELATIONAL AGGRESSION: e.g., spreading rumours about someone, excluding someone, gossiping
- ELECTRONIC (Cyberbullying): e.g., spreading rumors and/or hurtful comments through the use of email, cell phones (texts) or on social media.
Safe Schools Committee
(Note: mandatory for all schools – an existing committee may assume this role)
School Administrator: Natasha Skerritt & Emma Reay
Equity Rep: Jey Plourde
Teacher(s): Emily Drinkwater, Anna Mark, Amy Wootton, Franki Duke, Andy Speers, Sonya Mason
Support Staff: Rhonda Spindley
Student Representatives: Students Create Change, GSA, Allies for All
Parent: Rachel Albano, Colette Bayani-Thody
The role of this committee should include but is not limited to the following:
- Develop and annually review the School Bullying Prevention Plan
- Implement and analyze data from the School Climate Survey (WHY – Wellness Health of Youth Survey) – every two years
- Identify and implement bullying prevention and intervention programs that address the needs of the school
- Identify relationship building and community building programs relevant to the needs of the school
- Assist with training and awareness raising strategies for staff, students and parents/ guardians
- Communicate bullying prevention and intervention strategies and reporting procedures to the school community
School Monitoring and Review Process
This Bullying Prevention and Inclusive School Plan was developed or reviewed by our Safe School Committee on: September 19, 2023
Our most recent school climate (WHY) survey was conducted in 2022.
86% of students, 16 parents, and 20 staff completed our most recent school climate survey.
Data from our most recent climate (WHY) survey indicated that:
94.6% of students in grade 4-8 feel safe at school.
26% of students in grade 4-8 identified that they have been bullied at school or on the bus in the last year. Down 10.9% since 2019.
59% of students in grade 4-8 indicated that they told an adult about bullying that had occurred.
Training Strategies for Staff and Members of the School Community
Members of our school community will receive Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusive training through:
- Board professional development workshops
- Online training for new employees
- Staff meetings
- Provision of professional development materials and resources
Parents/Community Communication and Outreach Strategies
We will communicate our Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusive strategies and initiatives by:
- Including information on our school website and other publications sent from the school
- Sharing information during school assemblies as well as on our daily announcements
- Sharing information through bulletin board postings and posters throughout the school
- Sharing information at School Council and other parent meetings
- Sharing information at staff meetings
- Integrating Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusion into classroom instruction
- Posting our Bullying Prevention Plan and Safe, Equitable and Inclusive Schools strategy on our school website
- Informing parents and school volunteers of our procedures for reporting incidents of bullying and inequity
- Assisting parents to build awareness and knowledge so they may support our school Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusive strategies
Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusive Strategies, Education Programs/Activities
Note: Our Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusive goal(s) are determined after analysis of the results of our school climate (WHY) survey.
School Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusive Goals(s):
- School Climate – Continue to create a feeling of kindness, compassion, respect, inclusion and acceptance. Work together as a community to maintain the positive safe feeling in our school. We will continue to work together to stand up and “Say Something” when we see an injustice.
- Safe Schools – Staff, students, parents and school community promote and sustain student well-being and positive student behaviour in a safe accepting, inclusive and healthy learning environment. Continue to use school wide collaborative problem solving and restorative practices. Students will be able to identify the difference between bullying and conflict. They will also be able to identify and recognize the roles of the “bully”, “bystander” and “upstander”.
- Voice – Students, staff and community members at Elora will be given the opportunity to voice their opinions, concerns and feel confident that concerns will be addressed. Student voice is asked for and valued within classrooms and with administration. Students are taught that their voice matters, that it is important to have consent and that it is okay to say no. Students will be given opportunities to demonstrate leadership through a variety of ways at school including groups such as Students Create Change, GSA, Athletic Council, and Allies for All. Students will be encouraged to report bullying to an adult if they witness bullying.
- Parent Community – Continue to increase the quality of home school connection and parent engagement using suggestions from parents on the School Council and the community at large. Increased communication between home and school through email, including Ms Skerritt & Mrs. Reay’s 5 Things email, Staff Classroom emails, Google Classroom, UGDSB App, and the school website.
- Equity – Deepen our understanding, through specific education, recognizing injustice, and spreading awareness of the differences and similarities of all people, with a focus on being your own person within a supportive community. Diversity of students is reflected in our school. We will continue to celebrate differences, value uniqueness, and “Say Something” when there is injustice.
Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusive, Education Programs and Activities:
Our school currently implements or will implement the following bullying prevention and equity & inclusive education programs and activities that focus on developing healthy relationships and provide leadership opportunities for our students:
- School Wide Events and Practices are in place to develop socially responsible students and inclusive education:
- Respect all individuals’ differences.
- Include all students, especially our new to Elora students. When student leaders in our school see others by themselves they will invite them to join their games. Student leaders will connect and engage with younger or new students and help them all to feel included, safe, and welcome at Elora.
- Announcements made daily by students will encourage involvement of students in various activities, sports and clubs.
- Resources purchased for the Learning Commons will focus on Equity and Inclusion.
- Events such as our school wide activities will occur where our school community will continue to strive to support global and local initiatives and develop socially responsible students.
- Classroom meetings and lessons occur to resolve conflicts, develop mentally healthy students, and build inclusion. Classes have class agreements about positive behaviour and expectations. (Resources may include Collaborative Problem Solving, Kids in the Know, Wellness Works, and Zones of Regulation)
- Students will be given leadership and student voice opportunities. Students will be offered opportunities to share their leadership through assemblies, announcements, and helping around the school in a variety of ways. Additional opportunities for primary and junior voices and cross division connections will be put into place. Intermediate students will be given additional opportunities to connect with younger students.
- Participate in Bullying Awareness Week and other year round activities to promote awareness and inclusion. (e.g. pink shirt days, Day of Truth and Reconciliation, lessons, books, songs, videos, assemblies and announcements based on the equity calendar.)
- Staff will participate in professional development and activities related to BIPOC inclusion and awareness. (e.g. Positive Black history, days of significance, culturally responsive texts, GSA’s and Pride etc.) Staff will also have the opportunity to participate in professional learning related to anti-racism and anti-oppression.
- “Say Something” (Peter Reynolds), theme book for the 2023-2024 year. Focus on encouraging students to use their voice to create change in our world. Staff will have in depth conversations with classes related to this book as well as incorporate additional picture books that will ignite conversations in classes.
- Reporting procedure process that are clear for students, staff and parents. (e.g. Staff are identifiable when on duty. Parents are encouraged to email staff if a concern arises. Classroom teachers will work with classes to ensure all students have an opportunity to problem solve with peers if a concern arises.)
Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusive Responsibilities
- Closely supervise students in all areas of the school and school grounds
- Watch for signs of bullying and stopping it when it happens
- Respond quickly and sensitively to bullying reports (Affirm, Ask, Assess, Act)
- Take seriously parents’ concerns about bullying incidents
- Assign consequences for bullying
- Teach students our procedures for reporting incidents of bullying
- Provide a safe environment for students who report bullying (protection from retaliation)
- Treat others respectfully
- Model positive ways of getting along with others
- Treat each other respectfully
- Refuse to bully others
- Refuse to let others be bullied
- Refuse to watch, laugh or join in when someone is being bullied
- Include everyone in play, especially those who are often left out
- Report bullying to an adult
- Model positive ways of getting along with others
- Help their child find ways to express anger that do not involve hurting others physically or emotionally
- Teach problem solving skills
- Inform school staff if their child tells them about a bullying incident
- Support the schools bullying-prevention efforts
- Help their child understand the value of accepting and celebrating individual differences
- Be alert to signs their child is being bullied or may be bullying others
Our staff will use the following process when bullying is reported:
Acknowledge the Incident / Affirm
- “You were right to report/get help from an adult.”
- “I’m glad you asked for help with this.”
Gather Information / Ask Questions
- “Tell me more about what happened.”
- “Has this happened before?”
- “Did anyone try to help you?”
- “Are you telling me this is to get someone in trouble or to keep someone safe?”
Assess Safety / Make a Plan
- Determine what the student needs to feel safe now
- What can the student do if the bullying continues
- What steps need to be taken to limit the possibility of retaliation for the person reporting the bullying
- Who the student will tell if there is another incident
Act / Follow-up
- Determine “next step” or refer the student to an administrator
- Tell them what will happen next
- Check with the student to determine the success of the intervention
Reporting Incidents of Bullying
Students, parents, school staff and volunteers may use the following methods to report incidents of bullying as appropriate:
Student to Student:
- Safe Schools Incident Reporting (on-line)
- On-line Bullying Reporting Tool
- Tell an adult in the building (phone, in person, email etc.)
- Parent / Teacher interviews
- Make an appointment to meet with school staff
When responding to a bullying incident, our school staff uses a progressive discipline approach. Use of Progressive Discipline supports a safe, inclusive and equitable learning and teaching environment in which every student can reach his or her full potential. Strategies may range from early intervention to more intensive intervention in cases of persistent bullying, with possible referral to board support personnel, community or social service agencies.
These may include but are not limited to:
- Well-Being strategies and programs;
- providing students with the opportunity to learn life skills such as conflict resolution, anger management and communication skills;
- collaborative problem solving;
- utilizing models based on the concepts of peer mediation;
- documenting incidents requiring disciplinary measures;
- use of progressive discipline and consideration of mitigating factors;
- ensuring that contact is made with the parent(s)/guardian(s) of students, under the age of 18, early in the disciplinary process and involving them in a plan to improve the behaviour;
- CYC support
- referral to outside agencies (e.g., CMHA, DCAFS)
- restorative justice practices (e.g., written or verbal apology, community service)