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Safe Schools

About Us

The Halifax Regional School Board is committed to ensuring that schools continue to strengthen safe and inclusive school environments. The commitment to this goal is put into action through our policies, procedures, guidelines, staff development and school supports.

Safe Schools, a division of the School Administration Department, offers training, resources and individual support to assist schools in achieving this goal.

By school request, Safe Schools:

  • Support schools in helping students build healthy relationships, manage conflict effectively, cyberbullying safety and awareness, and promote skills related to social emotional development.
     
  • Researches resources for schools and conduct teacher professional development around promoting positive school climates and other safe schools issues.
     
  • Provides individual support to find appropriate/equitable solutions to conflict.
     
  • Provides workshops to staff, parents/guardians and other members of the school community on topics related to building peaceful school environments.

Stand Up Against Bullying Day is recognized on the second Thursday in September

On this day we encourage schools to set a positive tone for the school year by engaging students in activities that focus on the importance of building healthy relationships with and among each other.


Bullying

Bullying Definitions as outlined in the Provincial School Code of Conduct:

Bullying behaviour, typically repeated, that is intended to cause or should be known to cause fear, intimidation, humiliation, exclusion, distress or other harm to another person’s body, feelings, self-esteem, reputation or property, and can be direct or indirect, and includes assisting or encouraging the behaviour in any way.” (Provincial School Code of Conduct, 2015, Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development)

"Cyberbullying means any electronic communication through the use of technology including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, computers, other electronic devices, social networks, text messaging, instant messaging, websites and electronic mail, typically repeated or with continuing effect, that is intended or ought reasonably be expected to cause fear, intimidation, humiliation, distress, or other damage or harm to another person’s health, emotional well-being, self-esteem, or reputation, and includes assisting or encouraging such communication in any way." (Provincial School Code of Conduct, 2015, Nova Scotia EECD)

Bullying: What Parents need to know:

Bullying can take many different forms as children progress from early childhood to adolescence including: Physical Bullying, Social Bullying, Verbal Bullying and Cyberbullying.
Bullying & Cyberbullying - What We Need to Know: a reference for parents and guardians

From early childhood through adolescence, your child could rotate between any of three characters: the one being bullied, the one bullying and the one watching it all happen. Regardless of what role your child plays, bullying can have long-term negative consequences and must be challenged.  (Taken from What Parents Need to Know, prevnet.ca)
www.prevnet.ca/bullying/parents

"Fact: Reporting bullying is an effective way to stop the violence

Bullying is a relationship problem. It is about power and the abuse of power and it is incredibly difficult for children who are being victimized to remove themselves from this destructive relationship. Once a bullying relationship is established, attempts to make the bullying stop on their own are usually unsuccessful and may make the bullying worse. Adult intervention is required to correct the power imbalance. Children and parents/guardians may have to report the bullying to more than one responsible adult before an effective intervention is implemented to stop the bullying.

We know that victimized children who told an adult about being bullied reported being less victimized the following year compared to children who did not report being bullied. When no one reports the bullying, children who bully feel they can carry on without consequences. Secrecy empowers children who bully.

Solution: Children need to be encouraged to report bullying and be given multiple strategies on how to make these reports. Responsible adults must convey the message that they want to know about children’s experiences and that it is an adult’s job to help make the bullying stop." (Taken from Prevnet Website, www.prevnet.ca/bullying/facts-and-solutions#reporting)

Bullying is a serious issue for all parties involved, including those who do the bullying, those who are the intended target(s) and those who see it as well as the whole community. As a parent/guardian, here’s what to watch for, what you can do, and where you can get help:

How can I tell if my child is being bullied?

Victims often keep their problems a secret. They may feel they should handle it themselves. They may worry about revenge or other students' disapproval, or they may feel that adults can do little to help them. These are some signs that your child may be the victim of a bully:

  • a change in attitude, eating, or sleeping habits;

  • fear of going to school or attending after-school programs;

  • skipping classes;

  • lowered self-esteem;

  • unexplained sadness or depression;

  • acting out at home;

  • unexplained losses of money or personal items, or things that come home broken without a reason;

  • unexplained bruises, injuries, or damaged clothes;

  • loss of interest in school, or a drop in achievement; and

  • a significant change (a decrease or increase) in the amount of time using their computer, cell phone or mobile device.

What can I do when my child is being bullied?

  • Listen carefully to what your child tells you about the bullying.

  • Be sympathetic and take the problem seriously.

  • Assure your child that it is not his or her fault.

  • Tell your child that they will not have to face this alone.

  • Discourage your child from getting revenge.

  • Do not promise to keep it a secret. Anonymous reports are hard to fix.

  • Tell the principal or a staff member.

Give your child the following advice:

  • Walk away from the situation.

  • Discourage such behaviours as hitting back, talking back, or responding through social media.

  • Tell an adult whom you trust: a teacher, the principal, the school bus driver, or the lunchroom supervisor.

  • Talk about it with your family or friends so that you don't feel alone.

  • Find a friend to be with in the places where you don't feel safe.

What can I do if my child is bullying others?

  • Be alert to signs of bullying at home.

  • Tell your child that bullying is not acceptable, and there are better ways to solve problems, manage feelings, and meet needs.
     
  • Be a role model. Practice how to face problems together without hurting others.

  • Talk and work with your child's teacher or other staff at the school. They can help.

How can my child do the right thing when they see bullying behaviour?

Coach your child to do the following if they see to bullying:

  • Stay calm.

  • Step in.

  • Get help.

  • Support the child being bullied.

  • Refuse to join in any teasing or gossip.

  • Do not be an audience.

What can I expect from the school?

  • School staff will investigate your concerns.

  • An adult your child trusts will support your child and help to solve the problem.

  • The principal or other school staff will meet with you and your child.

  • If more help is needed, the school will involve others, such as the Safe Schools Consultant or the School Administration Supervisor.

Additional Resource: Bullying and CyberBullying, What we need to know, A Reference for Parents and Guardians, 2013
antibullying.novascotia.ca/bullying-cyberbullying-what-we-need-know-reference-guide


How is the school board helping to make our schools safer?

The Halifax Regional School Board is committed to ensuring that every school is a safe place to learn and succeed. We put this commitment into action through our policies, procedures, staff development, and school supports. For example:

  • By adhering to the Provincial School Code of Conduct which sets the behavioural expectation for conduct in our schools. It declares that it is the right of all students and staff to learn, teach, work and interact in a safe, secure and healthy environment, free from any form of violence, intimidation, threat, abuse or mistreatment.

  • Safe Schools, a division of the School Administration Department, offers training, resources, and individual support to help students find peaceful solutions to conflict. Find out more about our safe schools.

Your child's school may also have developed other ways to promote safety and respect. Talk to the teachers or principal to find out more.

Resources

What can a parent/guardian do to keep their child safe on the Internet? - link

A Role for Parents/Guardians

A Role for Students

To learn more about bullying and what you can do to help, contact your child's school or check out these resources:

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
www.kidshelpphone.ca

Bully Hotline, Halifax Regional Police
Phone: 902-490-7283
Text: 902-233-SAVE
E-mail: bullyhotline@halifax.ca

Provincial School Code of Conduct - link

Safe Schools, Halifax Regional School Board - link

Nova Scotia Anti-bullying Website - link