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Safe Schools Review Panel Releases Draft Recommendations

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Safe Schools Review Panel Releases Draft Recommendations

Hamilton, Ontario – December 7, 2020: The Safe Schools: Bullying Prevention and Intervention Review Panel has released draft recommendations based on extensive community input on how Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) can better address and prevent bullying.

Student and community voice – particularly from racialized and marginalized groups – was a key aspect of the year-long initiative led by the independent experts on the Safe Schools Review Panel, Dr. Jean Clinton, Brenda Flaherty and Dr. Gary Warner. The panelist shared the following statement:

“We are grateful and encouraged by how deeply Hamilton has engaged in the conversations about bullying prevention and intervention. The insights, solutions, and stories – at times difficult to hear, have directly informed our student-centred recommendations.

At this stage in our engagement effort and in the spirit of continuous improvement, we invite back participants to provide feedback on the draft recommendations.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) includes the rights for children to be protected from violence, abuse or neglect; to have access to an education that enables children to fulfil their potential; and to be able to express their opinions and be listened to.

Our goal is that our recommendations, informed by lived experience and insights shared with us, and by lessons drawn from research and best practices, will serve as a guide for HWDSB and beyond to enact sustainable changes that will guarantee the UNCRC rights for every child.

In this spirit, we dedicate this report to the memory of Devan Bracci-Selvey whose tragic death propelled this deeper look into the broader concern of bullying in HWDSB.”

The Draft Recommendations:

  1. Elevate student voice, agency, leadership & ownership
  2. Review special education plan & reflect upon impact of self-contained programs on student belonging & inclusion
  3. Improve communication with & meaningfully engage parents
  4. Equip schools & staff with tools & resources for effective response; utilize PREVNet tool kit
  5. Review existing bullying policies & procedures through lens of equity, anti-racism & anti-oppression
  6. Address inconsistent adherence to existing bullying prevention & intervention policies, procedures & guidelines
  7. Establish clear vision for bullying prevention & intervention / positive school climate work, develop core organizational values & incorporate safe schools outcome targets
  8. Review leadership development strategy; incorporate competencies that enable a whole child, student-centred environment
  9. Strengthen & build upon community partnerships; leverage community resources & expertise
  10. Seek commitment from Ministry of Education to provide school boards with supporting conditions that prioritize Safe & Accepting Schools

In addition to the above draft recommendations, the review panel proposes a Call to Action whereby all levels of government, in collaboration with our many communities, are called upon to prioritize the well-being of children and youth, and adopt a whole child approach to education.

View the full presentation with draft recommendations online, here.

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

“As a Board, we appreciate all that the Safe Schools Review Panel has done to provide authentic consultation and timely results to help all students and staff feel safe, supported and accepted – especially those who are often marginalized.

Feedback on the draft recommendations will be important, so that the Board sees a true reflection of community input before the report is presented to the Board of Trustees. We will honour this time that the Safe Schools Review Panel needs to continue engaging with the community on the draft recommendations. We look forward to the final report being delivered to the Board of Trustees.”

The Safe Schools: Bullying Prevention and Intervention Review Panel will deliver its final report to the HWDSB Board of Trustees on Monday, January 25, 2021. At that time, HWDSB will provide further comments and respond to the report and the recommendations.

Continued Engagement

The community is now invited to give feedback on the draft recommendations in several ways.

  • Virtual sessions on Zoom to be held Tuesday, Dec. 8 and Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The deadline to register is 24 hours before each session.
  • Thoughtexchange: An online engagement tool that can crowdsource a community’s answers in real time, a Thoughtexchange will be used to receive your thoughts about the draft recommendations. Deadline to submit feedback is Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 4pm.
  • Email the Safe Schools Panel your thoughts at safeschoolsreview@outlook.com

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Media Contact:

Shawn McKillop, APR

Manager, Communications and Community Engagement

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board on behalf of the

Safe Schools: Bullying Prevention and Intervention Review Panel

905.515.6227, smckillo@hwdsb.on.ca

Updated on Friday, September 24, 2021.
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