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Safe Schools

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Safety is essential to good learning. Every student deserves to feel and be supported in school, on the school grounds, in school buses and at school events and activities. Everyone from all walks of life in communities across Ontario share this common goal.

HWDSB is committed to building and sustaining a positive school climate for all students in order to support their education so that all students can reach their full potential. The Education Act requires school boards to ensure that measures are in place that consequence inappropriate behaviours and at the same time provide support for students to change those behaviours.

Seek help if you are concerned about your child’s mental health. For more information and access to resources, visit the Mental Health and Well-Being page. 

Bullying Prevention

Bullying is a form of repeated, persistent, and aggressive behaviour directed at an individual or individuals that is intended to cause fear and distress and/or harm to another person’s body, feelings, self esteem, or reputation. Bullying happens wherever children gather, taking various forms at different ages, but typically involves power, aggression, intimidation, and shame. 

To ensure that children have healthy relationships, HWDSB is dedicated to implementing effective bullying prevention programs for all students, emphasizing support for those being bullied, witnessing bullying, or involved in bullying. Click here to find more tips and information on our Bullying Prevention page.

Students and families should never feel alone or suffer the consequences of bullying in silence. Please tell a teacher, vice-principal or principal at your child’s school immediately if you have a concern. Resources like PREVNet and CyberTip also offer valuable information for families and students, empowering them to understand and effectively address bullying. 

Reporting BullyingHWDSB Helps poster

Please tell your child’s teacher, vice-principal or principal immediately. If reporting bullying to staff is uncomfortable, students can use the free and anonymous HWDSB Helps service to share a tip about bullying, mental health, substance use and more. Tips are sent to school staff. This is not a crisis line or counselling service. Click here to learn more.

Progressive Discipline and Restorative Justice

Progressive Discipline involves a series of steps taken by school Principals and staff to address student misbehaviour while allowing the student to continue attending school. Misbehaviour occurs when a student’s actions are harmful to themselves, others, or the safe and caring environment expected in our schools. Progressive discipline can range from detentions to expulsions, depending on the infraction. There is a requirement for schools and school boards to consider all and any mitigating circumstances before issuing a consequence for inappropriate behaviours.

Restorative Justice offers one way to respond to harm by giving those who have been harmed the opportunity to be heard while having a voice in resolution, holding wrongdoers accountable, and focusing on repairing relationships.

Click here to learn more about Progressive Discipline and Restorative Justice.


Some inappropriate behaviours are of such a serious or repetitive nature that an immediate suspension is required, or a 20 day suspension pending expulsion may be issued. A suspension means that a student is prohibited from entering school premises and participating in any school-related activities, both on and off school grounds. A suspension can range from one day up to a maximum of 20 school days. HWDSB has an appeal 

  • The school will contact you the day your child is suspended, providing details about the suspension. 
  • A suspension letter will be sent home, outlining the reason(s), duration and supports available (e.g., homework). 
  • A meeting with you, your child and the school will be arranged before their return. 

If you feel your child has been unfairly suspended, you can request a meeting with your school Superintendent. Click here for more information about suspensions.


An expulsion is a response to a serious misbehaviour by a student, occurring when a serious infraction of the Code of Conduct or other Board/school policies takes place. A student may be expelled from the school they are attending, or from all the schools in the Board.

When a Principal believes a student has engaged in a serious misbehaviour, a suspension will occur while a thorough investigation takes place. This involves speaking to witnesses, interviewing staff and gathering information that might be relevant to the investigation. The Principal will also speak with both you and your child. Based on the outcome of the investigation the Principal may recommend to the Board that a student be expelled. 

Parents have the right to appeal the Board’s decision to expel your child in writing within 30 days of the Discipline Committee’s decision to the Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRB). Click here for more information about expulsions.

Safe Schools Resources

Community Crisis Supports

  • COAST Hamilton: Mental health crisis line (905) 972-8338; coasthamilton.ca
  • Kids Help Phone: 24/7 counselling for youth, crisis line 1-800-668-6868; kidshelpphone.ca
  • In case of emergency, call 911.



Click here to learn more about Harmful Social Media Accounts. 

In today’s digital age, ensuring the online safety of students is an integral part of HWDSB’s commitment to well-being. The internet is a valuable resource, but it is crucial to be aware of the potential risks that come with it.

CyberTip.ca offers valuable information and guidance on how to keep your child safe while using the internet. It provides tips and resources to help you and your child navigate the online world responsibly.


Pink Shirt Day

Policies and Procedures

Safe Schools Review Panel/Action Plan

Safe Schools Action Plan

On April 6, 2021, staff presented the Safe Schools Action Plan to the Program Committee as part of the Positive Culture & Well-Being Priority. Work is now underway to shape and implement this action plan through collaboration with students, families and community partners.

Safe Schools Review Panel

On October 28, 2019, the Board of Trustees approved a staff report that calls for the formation of a Safe Schools: Bullying Prevention & Intervention Review Panel to provide the Director of Education, Manny Figueiredo, with independent feedback and recommendations on how to prevent, intervene, report and respond to bullying.

Click here for updates.

Updated on Tuesday, March 05, 2024.
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