Bullying Prevention Plan and Safe, Equitable and Inclusive School Strategy

UPPER GRAND DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD

School Bullying Prevention Plan and Safe, Equitable and Inclusive School Strategy

SCHOOL:     Willow Road PS  DATE:     September 30, 2022

Everyone at our school is 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 behavior by a student where, 

  1. 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
  1. 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 AGGRESSSION: 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 rumors about someone, excluding someone, gossiping
  • ELECTRONIC (Cyberbullying): e.g., spreading rumors and/or hurtful comments through the use of email, cell phones (texts) and on social media.

Safe Schools Committee

(Note: mandatory for all schools – an existing committee may assume this role)

School Administrator: Lindsey Tremblay(Principal),  Spencer Anderson (Vice-Principal)

Equity Rep:   Susan Pitman 

Teacher(s):   Bonnie Sears

Support Staff:    Janine Broadfoot(CYC)

Student Rep:  (when appropriate)      

Parent:   Parent Council Chair (Heather Cowbrough)

Community Partner:  (when appropriate)    

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 ( 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:      Sept 30, 2022

The WHY survey conducted in the Spring of 2022 indicated that: 

  84.9% of our students feel very safe at school (-4.4% since 2019)

  85.7% of our students feel included at school (+ 2.9% since 2019)

  26.2% of students have been bullied at the school or on the bus in the past year (-6.1% since 2019)

56.6% of students told an adult about the bullying (+0.9% since 2019)

46.2 % of parents report that their child has been bullied at school in the pas 12 months (-6.8% since 2019)

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 our Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusive Plan in our school/student handbook
  • Including information inserts in our school newsletters and other in-house publications
  • Sharing information during school assemblies and announcements
  • Sharing information through bulletin board postings
  • 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 survey.

School Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusive Goals(s):

  1. To increase understanding of the multiple identities within our community and celebrate our diversity.
  2. Increase the awareness of bullying prevention strategies in our school and community.
  3. Increase student safety through education around internet usage, social media, and media literacy. 
  4. As a school community, we will follow the Willow Commitments as co-created by staff for the 2022-2023 school year.
  5. Ensure classroom activities, materials, text, and media, reflect the profiles of the students in our classrooms, school, and community.

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:

  1. “WOW” assemblies focusing on our character development, celebrating diversity and inclusion traits.
  2. Participation in bullying prevention initiatives throughout the year (i.e. Bullying Prevention Week, Orange Shirt day, Pink Shirt Day, Empowerment Day)
  3. Continuation of Running and Reading Program which promotes character development
  4. Student mentoring program that supports conflict resolution and leadership skills
  5. Education by community partners about internet and personal device safety
  6. Community building activities (i.e. Diversity Day, Colour House Day)
  7. Leadership opportunities for students leaders to be used as positive role models (i.e. Learning Buddies, Student Council, Patrols, Kindergarten Helpers)
  8. Ensuring teaching practice incorporates equity and inclusion across all curriculum content.
  9. Increasing accessibility methods to school correspondence.
  10. Working to develop equity goals that reflect engagement and participation from our BIPOC community

Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusive Responsibilities

Staff:

  • 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

Students:

  • 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

Parents:

  • 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 son/daughter understand the value of accepting and celebrating individual differences
  • Be alert to signs their child is being bullied or may be bullying others

Intervention Strategies

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;
  • 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 behavior;
  • CYC support
  • referral to outside agencies (e.g., CMHA, DCAFS)
  • restorative justice practices (e.g., written or verbal apology, community service)

Consequences are at the discretion of the Principal or Vice-Principal.  In the case of severe misbehavior, our format of progressive discipline consequences may be superseded.  As incidents arise, it is recognized that each situation is unique.  Mitigating circumstances will be considered for student age, frequency of incidents, nature and severity of incidents, student exceptionalities, extenuating circumstances, impact on the school climate.