Striving to make schools safer
Alumnus Ron Weston, Chief Superintendent, St. James-Assiniboia School Division, spoke about bullying at Visionary Conversations. He shared some words with UM Today too.
Bullying activity involving school-aged children has been a major public health concern in Canada. As studies have shown, bullying can have detrimental effects on schools and safe learning environments. Although bullying is a complex social relationship problem, it is possible to intervene and reduce bullying behavior through a systemic and consistent intervention approach.
In the fall of 2002, the Safe Schools Safe Communities initiative was launched in the St. James-Assiniboia School Division, and the Cool to Care campaign has been active ever since. The on-going commitment by staff and students to ensure that we provide safe learning and work environments for all is constantly under review. As part of this review activity we conduct a student survey every two years.
The Safe Schools Survey is a multi-grade assessment conducted by the St. James-Assiniboia School Division. Schools at all levels participated in the survey. Students were asked a wide range of age appropriate questions regarding their school learning environments. The data was collected in order to identify whole school and overall Division profiles of students’ beliefs and attitudes towards school safety concerns and issues.
Each school receives its own school profile as well as the overall Division results. This data provides the springboard for discussions around school safety issues. Using the information gained through a school-based dialogue helps us develop more effective interventions. However, we all know that bullying happens beyond the school walls after school and on-line. We ask members of our community to help us address the problem of bullying by encouraging a frank and open discussion with their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews about the harm that bullying behavior can do to others.