June 24, 2011
While Halton District School Board schools recently placed in the top four of a bullying prevention campaign, all who participated are happy because the main goal of showing people the harmful effects of bullying was accomplished.
The Get Respect, Give Respect gala, sponsored by the Halton Regional Police Service, was held May 17 at St. Volodymyr's Cultural Centre in Oakville where the winners and finalists were announced. T.A. Blakelock High School placed first for its creative 2011-2012 calendar in which each month addresses things like bullying statistics, different types of bullying, how to get help and tips to make others feel better about themselves.
In addition to T.A. Blakelock High School placing first, the following schools round out the top four: Lester B. Pearson High School (second), E.C. Drury High School (third) and Milton District High School (fourth).
The Halton District School Board, Halton Catholic District School Board and Halton police recognize the profound impact and long-term effects bullying can have on youth, their families and friends. With this in mind, both school boards and police united to develop a bullying awareness and prevention campaign in November 2010.
This past February, youth from across the region were challenged to play a major role in the reduction of bullying in their schools and everyday lives. Students were asked to develop a message to address bullying as part of a friendly school competition using various mediums, like posters or video.
Each school was responsible for selecting its final submission, which was turned over to a judging panel made up of mostly youth from the community and supported by members of the school boards, Halton police and other community members.
T.A. Blakelock Vice-principal Sharon Casey, a lead staff member of the Safe School Action Team, says the calendar addressed the school’s ABC strategy – Awareness through the images provided, Behaviour through the actions and steps to bullying prevention and Community for community and relationship building.
“The reason we chose the calendar format was because it is portable and a great tool,” Casey says, adding schools, trustees and community partners have also been provided copies of the calendar. “We were very excited to be awarded with the honour of first place in the Give Respect, Get Respect contest. The exposure of the calendar was to stimulate conversation and encourage discussion, relationship and community building inside and outside the school. The calendar serves as a great tool for the school, adults and students.”
Janice Hambrock, the Board’s System Principal, Safe Schools, says she hopes the bullying prevention media campaign helped students realize they have the ability to make a positive difference.
“They have the ability to make a difference by speaking up and by taking action against incidents of bullying in their school and in their broader community,” she says. “The submissions were refreshingly varied and all of very high quality. We were especially pleased with the Halton District School Board’s response in this, our first year of the campaign.”
The media campaign also ties in to the Grade 9-12 curriculum about Bullying Prevention and Intervention including addressing themes like fostering healthy relationships, promoting inclusion and minimizing the incidence and impact of bullying.