Anti-Bullying Policy

*Updated October 1, 2019

Bullying Prevention Plan – GCHS – 2019/2020

Everyone here at GCHS is committed to making our school a safe, inclusive and equitable environment for all. We treat each other with respect and we will refuse to tolerate inequities in any form at our school. We know that a ‘whole school’ approach where all stakeholders are involved in supporting our students helps create and maintain a positive school climate. 

Definition of Bullying

“Bullying means aggressive and typically repeated behavior by a pupil where,

  1. The behavior is intended by the pupil to have the effect of, or the pupil ought to know that the behavior would be likely to have the effect of
  2. Causing harm, fear or distress to another individual, including physical, psychological, social or academic harm, harm to the individuals reputation or harm to the individuals property, or
  3. Creating a negative environment at a school for another individual, and
  4. The behavior 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, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, family circumstances, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, disability or the receipt of special education; (intimidation)

Bullying takes different forms of context with age.  It can be physical, verbal, social/emotional or through electronic means (cyber bullying).  Bystanders contribute to bullying by doing nothing to prevent it or become actively involved in supporting it.

“cyberbullying” includes electronic communications that:

  • Are used to upset, threaten or embarrass another person
  • Uses email, cell phones, text messages and social media sites to threaten, harass, embarrass, socially exclude or damage reputations and friendships
  • Includes put downs, insults and can also involve spreading rumors, sharing private information, phots or videos or threatening to harm someone

Examples of Bullying

  • PHYSICAL AGRESSION: e.g. hitting, pushing, stealing, or damaging property
  • VERBAL AGRESSION:  e.g. insults, threats, taunting someone in a hurtful way, name calling, making sexist, racist or homophobic comments
  • SOCIAL OR RELATIONAL AGRESSION:  e.g. spreading rumors about someone, excluding someone, gossiping
  • ELECTRONIC (cyber bullying):  e.g. spreading rumors and/or hurtful comments through the use of email, cell phones (texts) and on social media.

Safe Schools Committee/Parent Council

The role of this committee should include but is not limited to:

  • Develop and annually review the School Bullying and Prevention Plan
  • Implement and analyze data from the school climate survey
  • Identify and implement bullying prevention and intervention programs that address the needs of the school
  • Identify relationship building and community building programs relevant to the needs of the school
  • Assist with training and raising awareness of strategies for staff, students, and parents/guardians
  • Communicate bullying prevention and intervention strategies and reporting procedures to the school community

School Monitoring and Review Process

The Bullying Prevention and Inclusive School Plan was developed and reviewed by staff on December 18, 2018 and will be reviewed on January 16, 2019 by our parent council. Our most recent school climate survey was completed in February 2019. 

Training Strategies for Staff and Members of the School Community

Members of the school community will receive Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusive training through:

  • Board professional development workshops
  • Online training for new employees
  • Staff meetings
  • Provision of professional development materials and resources

Parents/Community communication and Outreach Strategies

We will communicate our Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusive strategies and initiatives by:

  • Including our Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusive Plan in our school/student handbook
  • Sharing information during school assemblies and announcements
  • Sharing information through bulletin board postings
  • Sharing information at School Council and other parent meetings
  • Sharing information at staff meetings
  • Integrating Bullying Prevention and Equity and Inclusion into classroom instructions
  • Informing parents and school volunteers of our procedures for reporting incidents of bullying and inequity
  • Assisting parents build awareness and knowledge so they may support our school Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusive strategies

Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusive Goal(s)

Note:  Our Bullying Prevention and Equity and Inclusive goal(s) are determined after analysis of the results of our school climate survey.

School Bullying and Prevention and Equity & Inclusive Goal(s)

  1. Continue to strengthen our Social Equity Club
  2. Continue through activities throughout the school to build a positive school culture
  3. Continue to use restorative practice and Collaborative Problem solving when issues arise between members of the school community

Bullying Prevention and Equity and Inclusive Education Programs and Activities

  1. Safetalk for staff and students
  2. Social Equity Activities
  3. Positive Mental Health Awareness Presentations
  4. Healthy Relationships Awareness
  5. Student Focus Group

Bullying Prevention and Equity and Inclusive Responsibilities

Staff:

  • Closely supervise students in all areas of the school and school grounds
  • Watch for signs of bullying and stopping it when it happens
  • Respond quickly and sensitively to bullying reports (Affirm, Ask, Assess, Act)
  • Take seriously parents’ concerns about bullying incidents
  • Assign consequences for bullying
  • Teach students our procedures for reporting incidents of bullying
  • Provide a safe environment for students who report bullying (protection from retaliation)
  • Treat others respectfully
  • Model positive ways of getting along with others

Students

  • Treat each other respectfully
  • Refuse to bully others
  • Refuse to let others be bullied
  • Refuse to watch, laugh, or join in when someone is being bullied
  • Include everyone in play, especially those who are often left out
  • Report bullying to an adult

Parents

  • Model positive ways of getting along with others
  • Help their son/daughter find ways to express anger that do not involve hurting others physically or emotionally
  • Teach problem solving skills
  • Inform school staff if their child tells them about a bullying incident
  • Support the schools anti-bullying efforts
  • Help their son/daughter understand the value of accepting and celebrating their differences
  • Be alert to signs their child is being bullied or may be bullying others

Intervention Strategies

Our staff will use the following processes when bullying is reported:


Acknowledge the incident/Affirm

  • “You were right to report /get help from an adult.”
  • “I’m glad you asked for help with this.”

Gather Information/Ask Questions

  • “Tell me more about what happened.”
  • “Has this happened before?”
  • “Did anyone try to help you?”
  • “Are you telling me this to get someone in trouble or to keep someone safe?”

Assess Safety/Make a Plan

  • Determine what the student needs to feel safe now
  • What can the student do if the bullying continues
  • What steps need to be taken to limit the possibility of retaliation for the person reporting the bullying
  • Who the student will tell if there is another incident

Act/Follow Up

  • Determine the “next step” or refer the student to an administrator
  • Tell them what will happen next
  • Check with the student to determine the success of the intervention

Report Incidents of Bullying

Students, parents, school staff and volunteers may use the following methods to report incidents of bullying as appropriate:

  • Tell an adult in the building (phone, in person, email, etc…)
  • Parent teacher interviews
  • Make an appointment to meet with school staff

When responding to a bullying incident, our school staff uses a progressive discipline approach.  Use of Progressive Discipline supports a safe, inclusive and accepting learning and teaching environment in which every student can reach his/her full potential.  Strategies may range from early intervention to more intensive intervention in cases of persistent bullying, with possible referral to board support personnel, community or social service agencies.

These may include but are not limited to:

  • Character development strategies and programs;
  • Providing students with the opportunity to learn life skills such as conflict resolution, anger management and communication skills;
  • Collaborative problem solving
  • Utilizing models based on the concepts of peer mediation
  • Documenting incidents requiring disciplinary measures
  • Use of progressive discipline
  • Consideration of mitigating factors
  • Ensuring that contact is made with the parent(s)/guardians(s) of students, under the age of 18, early in the disciplinary process and involving them in a plan to improve behavior
  • Referral to the Mental Health and Addictions nurse
  • Referral to outside agencies
  • Restorative practices

Consequences remain at the discretion of the Principal.  In the case of severe misbehavior, our format of progressive discipline consequences may be superseded.  As incidents arise, it is recognized that each situation is unique.  Mitigating circumstances will be considered for student age, frequency of incidents, nature and severity of incidents, student exceptionalities, extenuating circumstances, impact on school climate. All Staff and Students will be safe and feel safe on the property of GCHS.