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Bullying Awareness and Prevention

Stand up, Stand Together! We CAN Stop Bullying

The Halton District School Board is committed to providing all students with a safe, caring and inclusive learning environment free from bullying and harassment. A positive and inclusive school environment is essential for students to succeed. Staff, students, parents and community partners have a part to play in making our schools safer.

Providing students with an opportunity to learn and develop in a safe and respectful society is a shared responsibility in which the board and our schools play an important role. All Halton schools must create a bullying prevention/intervention action plan which includes bullying prevention/intervention strategies, which foster a positive learning and teaching environment that supports academic achievement for all students and that helps students reach their full potential. Bullying prevention and intervention strategies must be modeled by all members of the school community.

To view a PDF of the Stand Up, Stand Together We Can Stop Bullying poster, click here.

What is Bullying?

“Bullying” means aggressive and typically repeated behaviour by a pupil where,
(a)  the behaviour is intended by the pupil to have the effect of, or the pupil ought to know that the behaviour would be likely to have the effect of,
(i)  causing harm, fear or distress to another individual, including physical, psychological, social or academic harm, harm to the individual’s reputation or harm to the individual’s property, or
(ii)  creating a negative environment at a school for another individual, and
(b)  the behaviour occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance between the pupil and the individual based on factors such as size, strength, age, intelligence, peer group power, economic status, social status, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, family circumstances, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, disability or the receipt of special education; (“intimidation”)
For the purposes of the definition of “bullying”, behaviour includes the use of any physical, verbal, electronic, written or other means. Cyberbullying includes:
(a)  creating a web page or a blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person;
(b)  impersonating another person as the author of content or messages posted on the internet; and
(c)  communicating material electronically to more than one individual or posting material on a website that may be accessed by one or more individuals.

(From Bill 13, “Accepting Schools Act”, Ontario Ministry of Education, 2012)

New Changes: Accepting Schools Act (Bill 13)

Click here to learn more about the Accepting Schools Act and the role it plays as part of a comprehensive action plan to continue building safe, caring and inclusive school environments for all students.

Bullying Prevention and Intervention Action Plans

Each HDSB school tailors a bullying prevention/intervention action plan for their school community which is made available to the public. To view, visit your child’s school website or contact your child’s administrator.

Bullying Prevention: Building Positive School Climate in HDSB Schools

Safe Schools Action Teams
Each school must have a Safe Schools Action Team that is responsible for ensuring a safe, caring and inclusive environment is fostered in their school. The team must be composed of at least one student (where appropriate), one parent, one teacher, one member of the school’s support staff, one community partner and the principal. The chair of this team must be a staff member. Members of the SSAT should be representative of the diversity of the student population. Speak to your school’s principal for information about the Safe Schools Action Team at your children’s schools.

Related Policies:

Safe and Inclusive Schools Policy

Bullying Prevention and Intervention Admin Procedure

Equity and Inclusive Education Policy

Code of Conduct for Safe, Caring and Inclusive Schools

The student Code of Conduct is a shared responsibility between schools, students and parents. In addition to the board-wide Code of Conduct, each school in the Halton District School Board has its own Code of Conduct, specific to their school. Students and parents should contact their school or check their school’s website for a copy.

What If My Child Is Involved in Bullying?

Supporting My Child:
The following resources have been developed by Promoting Relationships and Ending Violence Network (PREVNet), which provides access a range of free research-based resources useful for promoting relationships and ending violence:

Making a Difference in Bullying: What parents of young children need to know

Making a Difference in Bullying: What parents of elementary school children need to know

Making a Difference in Bullying: What parents of adolescents need to know

Making a Difference in Bullying for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth

What Parents Need to Know About Cyberbullying

My child is being bullied:
Young children

My child is engaging in bullying behaviour
Young children

My child is witnessing bullying behaviour
Young children
Becoming An Upstander

Be Your Child’s Champion! Making A Plan Together

Whether your child is the target of bullying, is engaging in bullying behaviour or is witnessing bullying behaviour, once your child has come forward, it’s your turn to take action:

  • Arrange a meeting for you and your son/daughter with the teacher and/or principal/vice-principal.
  • Bring with you the specific information you’ve gathered about the bullying incident(s) i.e., who, what, where, when, how.
  • Work with your son/daughter and school personnel on a plan to address what your son/daughter needs right now in order to feel safe; what he/she can do to avoid being bullied and to stand up to any future bullying; and who he/she can go to for help.

* A range of resources and services exist to provide the most appropriate supports to any student impacted by bullying including students who are bullied, students who engage in bullying behaviour and students who witness bullying.

* Education staff: School-based and Board educators are available to support building positive, inclusive classroom climates where students feel safe and that they belong including classroom teachers, Special Education Resource Teachers, Equity and Inclusive Education consultants, Itinerant Behaviour Teachers.

* Child and Youth Counsellors: 
Some students may require assistance in dealing with behavioural, social, emotional and academic issues in their school environment. School Child and Youth Counsellors (SCYCs) support students, parents and school staff in coping with these challenges. Requests for SCYC support can be initiated by parents, students, teachers and other partners. These requests are processed through the School Resource Team. To learn more about SCYC services, click here.

* School Social Workers:
School Social Workers (SSWs) may help students, families, and schools in relation to mental health, emotional, social, and behavioural concerns. School Social Workers offer a variety of services including: advocacy, assessment and referral, case conferences, consultation, crisis intervention, individual counselling, group work counselling, liaise with community professionals, parenting strategies, referrals to community resources. You may reach your School Social Worker by contacting your guidance office, or through your School Administration. To learn more about SSWs, click here. Referrals may be made by the student, parent/guardians, school staff, community resources, or through the School Team, or School Resource Team.

The Board’s team of three Safe and Inclusive Schools Social Workers (SISSWs) is solely dedicated to providing the services above in relation to students and families impacted by bullying behaviour including intensive individual and group counselling support.

Requests for support of SISSWs are made through the School Resource Team or School Team process, and can be initiated by parents, students, community professionals and school staff. To make a request that your child be placed on the agenda to access any of the above supports, contact your child’s teacher and/or principal.

  • Recognize the school may need some time to investigate your concerns
  • Keep the lines of communication open between school and home. Arrange a follow-up meeting or phone call so all parties can ensure the .

To view the Board's bullying prevention brochure, click here.

Additional Resources for Parents and Guardians

Community Resources

Website Resources:
Many bullying prevention resources for parents are available online. The following
websites feature additional links to other bullying and victimization prevention strategies websites. 

  • www.prevnet.ca 
    PREVNet (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network) is a national
    network of Canadian researchers, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) and
    governments committed to stop bullying. The site offers a wide range of resources for
    educators, parents, and community members. 
  • www.kidshelpphone.ca  
    Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only free, national, bilingual, confidential and anonymous,
    24-hour telephone and on-line counseling service for kids and teens. 
  • www.bullying.org
    Bullying.org’s purpose is to prevent bullying in our society through education and
    awareness. The site provides educational programs and resources to individuals, families, educational institutions and organizations. They make available on-line learning and educational resources in order to help people deal effectively and positively with the act of bullying and its long-lasting negative consequences. 
  • www.antibullying.net  
    This site is maintained by the Positive School Ethos Program at the University of
    Edinburgh in Scotland. It provides tips for dealing with a variety of difficult situations
    and shares testimonials from famous people who overcame bullying.

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