MHA says com­bat­ting bul­ly­ing is a daily chal­lenge

The Compass - - OPINION - BY DALE KIRBY — Dale Kirby is the ed­u­ca­tion critic for the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion, and MHA for St. John’s North

The ar­ti­cle “Bul­ly­ing prob­lem in Har­bour Grace” in the Feb. 18, 2014 is­sue of The Com­pass has com­pelled me to ad­dress the se­ri­ous­ness of bul­ly­ing in our schools.

Ev­ery day is an op­por­tu­nity to work to­wards pre­vent­ing vi­o­lence in schools and it’s im­por­tant that chil­dren, fam­i­lies, teach­ers and ad­min­is­tra­tors know what con­sti­tutes bul­ly­ing and un­der­stand what the con­se­quences are. Vi­o­lence preven­tion at school starts with vi­o­lence aware­ness, it’s im­per­a­tive that fam­i­lies openly dis­cuss sit­u­a­tions which can lead to vi­o­lence in schools and learn how to ad­dress those sit­u­a­tions.

The ini­tia­tives to im­ple­ment the Safe and Car­ing Schools Pol­icy and make amend­ments to the Schools Act 1997 have been a pos­i­tive step for­ward in re­duc­ing or elimi- nat­ing school vi­o­lence. How­ever, it is crit­i­cal that govern­ment al­lo­cate fund­ing for ini­tia­tives, such as the ex­pected data­base of re­ported in­ci­dents and ac­tions taken, that is out­lined in the leg­is­la­tion. With an al­ready strained school sys­tem, it’s im­per­a­tive that govern­ment have the ap­pro­pri­ate re­sources ded­i­cated to im­ple­ment this pol­icy be­cause no child should ever feel un­safe at school.

In a School Cli­mate Sur­vey, con­ducted by the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion in 2012, as many as 45 per cent of Grade 12 stu­dents in­di­cated they feel un­safe while trav­el­ling on the school bus. That’s an alarm­ing statistic and one that is just not ac­cept­able.

Sta­tis­tics have shown that in­di­vid­u­als who are bul­lied and ex­pe­ri­ence vi­o­lence at a young age of­ten have dif­fi­cul­ties later in life. It is vi­tal that ev­ery ef­fort is made to end school vi­o­lence, so that ev­ery young per­son in our prov­ince can have the chance of a bright fu­ture.

Aware­ness is the first step in elim­i­nat­ing bul­ly­ing, so I’d be re­miss if I didn’t men­tion that Fe­bru­ary is Vi­o­lence Preven­tion Month and Feb. 26 is Anti-Bul­ly­ing Day. While ev­ery day is an op­por­tu­nity to work to­wards pre­vent­ing bul­ly­ing, it is im­por­tant to have these times of aware­ness to bring this se­ri­ous is­sue to light.

Ev­ery­one is re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing that all bul­ly­ing is stopped. It’s im­por­tant to dis­cuss bul­ly­ing at home and in schools; and to en­sure that proper mea­sures are taken to ad­dress vi­o­lence in school, so that all chil­dren feel safe at all times.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.