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Bullying Prevention

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At HWDSB, we know safety is essential to good learning. Every student deserves to feel secure on school grounds and during school-related activities. While we strive to create positive and caring learning spaces, we know that bullying exists in our school community – and want to do all that we can to prevent it and intervene effectively. 

Understanding Bullying 

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. 

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 offer valuable information for families and students, empowering them to understand and effectively address bullying. 

Forms of Bullying 

  • Physical: Repeated hitting, kicking, shoving, beating up, stealing, or damaging another person’s property 
  • Verbal: Repeated name-calling, mocking, humiliating, teasing, threatening, making sexist, racist or homophobic comments 
  • Social: Repeated rolling of the eyes, excluding others from the group, gossiping, spreading rumours, making another person or persons look foolish, and damaging another person’s friendships 
  • Electronic/Cyber: The repeated use of email, cell phones, text, internet images and Web sites to threaten, harass, embarrass, spread rumours to socially exclude or damage reputations or friendships 
  • Racial: Repeated aggression, exclusion, or negative comments due to a person’s racial or ethnic background or cultural practices 
  • Religious: Repeated aggression, exclusion, or negative comments due to a person’s religious beliefs, background, dress code or observances 
  • Sexual: Repeated excluding, mistreating, or name-calling of a person due to their gender or sexual orientation. Can also be repeated crude comments, sexist comments, sexual rumours, and touching or grabbing someone in a sexual way 

Bullying Prevention Tips for Families

Signs a Child Might be a Victim of Bullying:

  • Fear of going to school or going to school early or late 
  • Changes in mood or behaviour (e.g. quiet, sullen, anxious, argumentative) 
  • Nightmares and disturbed sleep 
  • Unexplained cuts, bruises or other injuries 
  • Problems with school work 

If You Suspect Your Child is a Victim of Bullying:

  • Talk openly and honestly with your child and listen to their feelings 
  • Speak to your school principal or teacher 
  • Teach your child to trust adults who can help stop the bullying 
  • Encourage positive behaviour  
  • Teach your child how to make new friends, stay alert to their environment and to be assertive 

How to Prevent Bullying:

  • Encourage your child to be independent 
  • Behave with kindness, integrity, and courage 
  • Monitor social media regularly with your child 
  • Communicate daily about relationships your child has 
  • Support school policies around the Code of Conduct and respectful behaviour at school, home and the community  

Reporting Bullying

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.

Bullying and Wellness

Seek help if you are concerned about your child’s mental health. HWDSB is committed to supporting the mental health and well-being of all students, offering a wide range of mental health and well-being resources to students and families. For more information and access to resources, visit the Mental Health and Well-Being page. 

Bullying Prevention & Response Strategies 

Safe Schools Action Plan 

HWDSB actively addresses bullying by responding to the voices of students, families, staff and community through our Safe Schools Action Plan. 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. Details on the steps taken can be found in the Safe Schools Action Plan. 

Each school has a Safe Schools Team that uses data related to bullying behaviours to monitor and enhance bullying prevention programs, incorporating safe school survey information, suspension and expulsion data, student comments, and parental input. 

Positive School Climate 

A positive school climate exists when all members of a school community feel safe, comfortable, and accepted. When all members of a school community feel like they belong, that they matter and are connected to their community in a meaningful way. All schools have programs and groups that help to promote positive behaviours. 

Training & Teaching Strategies 

HWDSB provides bullying prevention and intervention training to staff and students. Daily classroom teaching strategies focus on developing healthy relationships, including bullying prevention. Schools are encouraged to provide programs for parents and students on bullying prevention and intervention. Peer mediation is also a common practice in many of our schools.  

Being an UPstander 

An UPstander is someone who actively steps in when witnessing bullying by intervening, interrupting or speaking up to stop it. At HWDSB, we strive to foster a positive school climate, placing a strong emphasis on building healthy relationships. Every student has the power to be an UPstander by working together to understand social responsibility and recognizing the importance of standing up for not only themselves but also for others.

Code of Conduct 

All members of the school community have a responsibility to uphold the HWDSB Code of Conduct which sets out expected standards of behaviour. Violations of the Code of Conduct will be addressed through relevant policies and legislation. Click here to learn more about the Code of Conduct.

Progressive Discipline 

HWDSB uses a progressive discipline model when issuing consequences. School staff work to emphasize positive student behaviour to build and sustain a positive school climate. Immediate steps may be taken if a student’s behaviour is harmful. Click here to learn more about Progressive Discipline.

More Information 

Updated on Friday, November 01, 2019.
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