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HWDSB Trustees Receive Safe Schools Review Panel’s Final Report

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HWDSB Trustees Receive Safe Schools Review Panel’s Final Report

Hamilton, Ontario – January 25, 2021: The Safe Schools: Bullying Prevention and Intervention Review Panel has delivered to Trustees its final report and recommendations, which are based on extensive community consultation on how Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) can better address and prevent bullying.

Trustees received the panel’s final report – Building Healthy Relationships and an Inclusive, Caring Learning Environment – and discussed its findings and recommendations at a Board meeting on January 25, 2021.

On October 7, 2019, Devan Bracci-Selvey was killed behind Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in Hamilton. Many details about his death remain unclear, but friends and family said that Devan had been a victim of persistent bullying.

Following Devan’s death, HWDSB Trustees created the Safe Schools: Bullying Prevention and Intervention Review Panel. They asked three well-respected community members — Dr. Jean Clinton, Brenda Flaherty and Dr. Gary Warner — to help the board address bullying. The panel members shared the following statement after delivering their final report:

“While this report concludes months of consultation, it does not end the work required to address bullying in our schools and in our society. It begins the call to action.

We remain humbled by the heartfelt community input that shaped these student-focused recommendations.

We believe that our stance on bullying reveals our character as a people. Do we comfort those who suffer? Do we stand up to those who cause harm?

Devan Bracci-Selvey’s tragic death began a continuing conversation about our collective responsibility to address bullying. We dedicate this report and its recommendations to the memory of Devan, to his family and to everyone who suffers as a result of bullying

As scholars, we are comforted that this report and recommendations were informed by research, best practices, and the lived experiences of school communities.

As community members, we yearn to see this work bring some closure to those who know tragedy, some healing to those who hurt, and the kind of committed, collective action that will improve the lives of children.”

HWDSB Board Chair Dawn Danko shared the following statement:

“We heard from our community that bullying is a problem and that – especially during a pandemic – we must act together to make changes that support students facing this challenge. We have approved staff to act on the recommendations and we have high expectations.

As a mother, I can only imagine how Shari-Ann feels. I want our community to know that Devan’s death mattered and that this conversation is part of his legacy. To help all students, we are now entrusted with putting this report into practice.”

Manny Figueiredo, Director of Education, shared the following response on behalf of HWDSB

“As a Board, Devan’s death shook us in ways that continue to this day. The conversation his death inspired was hard to hear, but reinforced our belief that we have a moral responsibility to help all students feel safe, supported and accepted – especially those who have been historically underserved. We thank the independent review panel for engaging in courageous consultation, providing expertise and for partnering with us on this important work.

Community voice has made this report a true reflection of ideas and concerns about bullying in Hamilton. We look forward to unpacking and implementing the thoughtful recommendations in the final report being delivered to the Board of Trustees. The next steps are about change – so that we all stay engaged in the issue, bring all of the supports on equity and mental health possible, and provide updates to the Board and community as we make progress.”

Quick Links:

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Media Contact:

Shawn McKillop, APR

Manager of Communications and Community Engagement

Cell: 905-515-6227 | smckillo@hwdsb.on.ca

Updated on Friday, September 24, 2021.
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