Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is committed to making all schools caring and safe places to learn. Our first strategic priority, Positive Culture and Well-being, includes a focus on equity, inclusion, mental health and well-being, safety and acceptance of all staff, students, families and community partners. See our detailed plan at HWDSB Reimagined.
Every student deserves to feel and to be safe in a school, on the school grounds, on the school bus, and at school events and activities. At Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB), we know safety is essential to good learning. Students learn and teachers teach more successfully when schools are safe. If a student misbehaves, the school staff and Principal decide on what steps to take to help the student improve behaviour.
What is bullying?
Bullying is typically a form of repeated, persistent and aggressive behaviour directed at an individual or individuals that is intended to cause (or should be known to cause), fear and 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 and can also bea single occurrence or event.
Students may attain or maintain power over others in the school through real or perceived differences. Some areas of difference may be size, strength, age, intelligence, economic status, social status, solidarity of peer group, religion, ethnicity, disability, need for special education, sexual orientation, family circumstances, gender or race.
Bullying can take many forms. It can be:
- Physical (e.g., hitting, pushing, tripping, stealing or damaging property);
- Verbal (e.g., name-calling, threats, humiliating, mocking, or making sexist, racist or homophobic comments);
- Social (e.g., excluding others from a group, spreading gossip or rumours, making others look foolish or deliberately damaging another person’s friendships);
- Electronic (e.g., spreading rumours, images, or hurtful comments using email, cell phones, text messaging, websites or other technology).
What do families and students need to know about bullying?
Parents and children should never feel alone or suffer the consequences of bullying in silence. You must contact the school Principal or Vice Principal at your child’s school immediately is you have a concern. Parents can help to deal with bullying by:
- Making sure you know the policies and have open dialogue with your children about what is happening at school, on the bus, and online. Listen and observe!
- Work in partnership with the school…be proactive and call when you have questions and concerns rather than being reactive and calling after you have had several incidents reported to you by your child.
- Encourage positive behavior, value differences, and promote sensitivity towards others with your child.
- Discuss regularly with your child about their feelings about school work, friendships, relationships and their day!
- Inform the school of changes in your child’s behavior or circumstances that might affect their behavior or moods/feelings.
- Contact the school if bullying has occurred.