B.C. government looks to end bullying
The B.C. government wants to stop bullying by working closely with school districts throughout the province.
The Ministry of Education presented 10 strategies during an ERASE (Expect Respect and A Safe Education) Bullying Summit on Nov. 13, including one that trains “community partners.”
Nicola-Similkameen School District 58 Assistant Superintendent Stephen McNiven said the strategies set out a detailed action plan.
“This involves a five-year multi-level training program,” he said during this month’s school board meeting. “One of the areas will be bringing teachers and principals together for training in Kamloops, where the focus will be on stop bullying strategies.”
The training is also offered to school counsellors, he added.
During the summit, about 130 students told stories about the effects of bullying on their lives.
Anti-bullying experts and dignitaries, including Premier Christy Clark, also attended.
“The summit brought together a wide range of participants who were in agreement: stopping bullying requires a culture change in our schools, homes and communities,” she said in a release. “Community agencies, parents, educators and students all need to play a role.”
She said the summit resulted in the commitment of developing a “culture of kindness, caring and respect where no child has to wake up in the morning and go to school worrying about what will happen to them that day.”
Cyberbullying was another hot topic. This form of hate gives bullies new weapons such as chat rooms, text messaging and social media outlets.
“Bullying shouldn’t be a rite of passage for young people,” Clark said. “We need to make sure that those who target others, whether in a school hallway or in cyberspace, understand the real-world consequences of their actions and become leaders for changing school culture.”
As part of the 10 strategies to erase bullying, Education Minister Don McRae launched the ERASEBullying.ca website and the ReportBullyingBC.ca online reporting tool.
The website provides people with information about bullying and how to find help.
The strategies include:
• an outreach campaign to raise awareness and provide help
• an online forum to discuss and address bullying
• a legal framework to combat cyberbullying for review
• school codes of conduct
• addressing sexual harassment/exploitation
• extending training to community partners
• involving ethnic communities and support agencies in developing anti-bullying strategies
• meeting with local stakeholders to discuss strategies
• raising the issue at the national level, and looking into possible gaps in the criminal code
• developing better understanding between parents and children
• making parents aware of what is happening in schools
• providing leadership opportunities.
Stakeholders with B.C. Teachers’ Pension Plan cited longer life expectancy and challenging economic conditions for their slated 1.3 per cent increase to contributions beginning in July.
The employer pays 54 per cent while the members pay 45 per cent.
The hike will cost SD 58 about $155,000 next year, the district said at a public meeting on Nov. 7.
MSS gym reno
Merritt Secondary School’s gym renovation is behind schedule.
The project was originally scheduled to be complete at the end of October.
The gym floor is now anticipated to be installed mid-December.
The change rooms are also behind schedule, due to plumbing and floor level issues, SD 58 Supt. Bob Peacock said. The new change rooms are now expected at the end of January.