What Does Bullying Prevention Look Like in Canadian Schools?Emily Fata July 31st, 2016 Uncategorized
Written by: Emily Fata
In our nation, the National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS), established by our government with the goal of reducing crime and victimization, has created a document entitled “Bullying Prevention in Schools” in collaboration with the National Crime Prevention Centre (NCPC). In brief, they have identified the different forms of bullying (physical abuse as well as the psychological forms of verbal and social abuse), including the individuals who perform and who receive these aggressive acts. With SUP having a specific interest in high schools, we found in their data that a particular study on Canadian high school students discovered roughly ten to fifteen percent of students have reported being bullied at least once per week. This is an alarmingly high number that does not even include the youth bullied more ‘casually’, or those who are afraid to report the bullying they have experienced at all.
Perhaps the most important data that “Bullying Prevention in Schools” discusses are the solutions to the problem of bullying in schools. The NCPS and NCPC advocate for both a whole school approach and a whole school policy, noting that “[b]oth Canadian and international research stress the need for a whole school approach to bullying which includes the adoption of an anti-bullying policy and anti-bullying initiatives” and that “[t]he first step in a whole school approach to bullying is the creation of an anti-bullying policy or more recently a broad school safety policy”. Indeed, they have taken crucial steps toward eradicating bullying in school, including:
1. Conducting a school needs assessment
This helps to determine the steps that schools must take in order to prevent the problem from continuing to occur, as well as the best course of action required to do so. by identifying who is being bullied by whom, as well as when, where, and how it is occurring, our school boards can take precautionary steps for prevention.
2. Developing a policy in consultation with key stakeholders
Involving a committee of a school’s principal, representatives from parent councils, teachers, school staff, and students can help with identifying the bullying issues a particular school has and how to potentially approach the elimination of them from different points of view. Inclusion of all of these parties not only provides valuable insight and input, but also enables everyone to feel as if they are a part of the solution, a very encouraging and pride-filled feeling for many.
3. Implementing the policy in the school
Naturally, these ideas formulated by the aforementioned stakeholders in the school committee are necessary to see any form of positive change within a school. The document indicates that implementation can occur “in various ways including presentations, newsletters or poster campaigns”. Integration and the garnering of respect for an anti-bullying policy must be accomplished via a continually committed promotion of both school staff and parents in the community.
4. Evaluating the policy
As with all policies, the anti-bullying policies geared to specific schools will need a periodic review to ensure that each school and their respective boards are doing everything possible to eradicate the issue of bullying within their districts. This can be accomplished through continual research (regarding what members of the school feel should continue to be done, be changed, and/or be newly implemented in regards to bullying solutions); for this, individuals’ comments and detailed input are essential to improving the existing policy. In fact, these ideas can even be used to improve policies in neighboring schools if information is exchanged.
Through these steps, schools and their boards across the country will be able to begin dealing with bullying on a ‘personalized’ basis, eliminating the problems that are specific to each individual school and aiding victims depending on each person’s needs. With the aim of entire schools working together to remove all forms of bullying from their environment, we can trust that anti-bullying groups (such as SUP) will be at the forefront working with our education system to help our youth and to move forward in creating a safer and happier school environment.
For more information on the “Bullying Prevention in Schools” document by the NCPS and NCPC, please click here.
Public Safety Canada. (2016, January 19). Bullying prevention in schools. Retrieved July 22, 2016, from https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/bllng-prvntn-schls/index-eng.aspx