Fighting Bullying with Edmonton Public Schools

There is a motion to be debated tomorrow evening regarding creating and anti-bullying advisory committee. UPDATE: This motion was carried 8 votes to 1.

Motion re Anti-Bullying Advisory Committee

RECOMMENDA TION

That the Board establish an Anti-Bullying Advisory Committee that will develop a list of recommendations for the Administration to consider implementing in an effort to identify the scope and reduce the extent of bullying in Edmonton Public Schools. The Advisory Committee would consist of one Trustee, a member of Central Administration who specializes in this area, one active staff member of school, one junior high student, one high school student, one elementary school parent and one person from the Society for Safe and Caring Schools and Communities. The Committee would provide recommendations to the Administration by May 31, 2011.

I think change happens both from “TOP DOWN” and “BOTTOM UP” approaches. I think that there are some already fantastic initiatives going on in our district at certain schools that could shine a light. There is no sense reinventing the wheel and I don’t think this committee intends to do that, but rather to examine policies and practices that should be shared across the district. I also think that the profile that this committee could give to the recommendations, both in the media and in the education community would be a positive downstream effect of the committee’s work.

One area we need to do better is with regard to sexuality and gender-based bullying. Another area is the growing complexity regarding cyber-bullying and helping our students. Much work is to be done!

As a final excerpt, I thought I might share some final thoughts from the ATA code of conduct as we discuss how to define bullying.

From the ATA Code of Conduct:

In relation to pupils:

1 The teacher teaches in a manner that respects the dignity and rights of all persons without prejudice as to race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical characteristics, disability, marital status, family status, age, ancestry, place of origin, place of residence, socioeconomic background or linguistic background.