Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week 2023
Ontario has designated the third full week of November as Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week to help promote safe schools and a positive learning environment. While this learning is taking place throughout the year, we especially encourage students, staff and families to join school boards across Ontario to learn more about bullying and its impact on student learning and well-being.
As a part of this week, we are excited to share some of the work informed by students, staff, families and community organizations through HWDSB’s Safe Schools Action Plan.
Highlights of this ongoing collaboration include the revitalization of the HWDSB Helps anonymous reporting tool, student and family resources to support what happens when bullying is reported and resources for schools that support a clear understanding of bullying prevention, response and intervention.
HWDSB Helps is a free and anonymous way for students to find help for themselves and one another. Tips may relate to student mental health, bullying, substance use and more. When students, staff and families help promote a positive school environment, schools are safer and more welcoming places. The service receives anonymous messages and shares the report with staff who follow existing Board and school protocols.
The HWDSB Helps Poster Contest continues into Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week! The winning posters will be displayed throughout HWDSB schools. Students can enter the contest by creating and submitting their own HWDSB Helps poster. Your poster should include a title, a description, and visuals. Click here to learn how to enter.
For student and family resources this Bullying Prevention and Awareness Week, be sure to head to our Safe Schools webpage. Visitors will find tips on what to do if someone is experiencing bullying, as well as a list of resources broken down into topics.
Bullying awareness and prevention will be front and centre in HWDSB classrooms this week thanks to a series of Reimagining Wellness lessons with specific anti-bullying themes. Students can learn about the similarities and differences between teasing, bullying and aggression, the impacts of cyberbullying and more.
Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week will also be celebrated at the school level with five themed days that explore topics related to bullying, mental health, healthy relationships and more. Click the drop-down buttons to read about the different topics.
Monday, November 20 - Transgender Day of Remembrance
At HWDSB, Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week takes place from November 20 to November 24. Bullying is not a one-time conflict or a one-time instance of teasing. Bullying continues to affect people across Canada today and bullying rates in Canada are higher than two thirds of Western countries.
One of the most important things we can do to stop bullying is to raise awareness about it and ensure that everyone knows what they should do if they witness or experience bullying. We also need to recognize that individuals from historically underserved communities are more frequently impacted by bullying behaviours. This is especially important to acknowledge today as it is Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), a day to honour the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. Click here to read HWDSB’s message for Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Tuesday, November 21 – Bullying Impacts Us All
Today is the second day of Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week, a week dedicated to helping promote safe schools and a positive learning environment by building awareness about this serious issue.
In Canada, 75 per cent of people say they have been affected by bullying. In addition to the harm caused during an initial incident, the damaging effects of bullying have been shown to negatively affect social relationships, well-being and overall health years after having occurred. Not just this week, but on an ongoing basis, we encourage everyone to look at some of the ways that bullying behaviours can be interrupted when we see them happening. Throughout these discussions, the role of an upstander and ways that we can stand up in a safe way when bullying behaviours are witnessed should be a major topic for further discussion. Click here to learn more on our Safe Schools webpage.
Wednesday, November 22 - Be an UPstander
As we work through this week to raise awareness about bullying and how to address bullying behaviours, we have an opportunity to think about the importance of building healthy relationships and fostering a positive school climate. We are always learning about how our actions can impact others and that actions may not always be perceived the way they were intended. Sometimes, the impact of our actions can change depending on the person or situation. Did you know that when a peer intervenes, 57 per cent of the time the bullying will stop within 10 seconds? Being an UPstander WORKS! Click here to visit the Ministry of Education website for tips on bullying intervention.
Thursday, November 23 – Cyberbullying
Did you know that in Canada, one in seven youth report that they have been victimized online. We know that healthy social media use, combined with an awareness of our digital footprint, can play a huge role in preventing cyberbullying from occurring. We also know that a good understanding of what cyberbullying is, how to avoid participating in it and what to do if you experience it are key components of bullying awareness and prevention. What do you know about your digital footprint? Click here to check out our cyberbullying infographic with tips and resources.
Friday, November 24 – HWDSB Helps
Today is our last day of Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week. As we wrap up our learning this week it is important to remember that bullying can leave a long-term and damaging impact on all of those involved. Students who bully, and those who are bullied, are often more likely to miss school, show less interest in their studies and suffer poor grades. Those who are bullied often suffer from depression, anxiety, loneliness and isolation.
Do not forget to create and submit your version of a new poster for HWDSB Helps poster contest! The improvements made to this poster will help support students in reporting incidents of bullying and help to create safer and more inclusive environments for all. Click here to learn more about the HWDSB Helps poster contest.