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At the last Parent Education Evening, the Akiva community took a closer look at bullying, the government Bill 56; an act to prevent and stop bullying and violence in schools, and how we, as a community, can stop bullying from happening at our school.

Some of the key highlights of what we learned included:

Facts about bullying:

– Over 1,100,000 Canadian school-aged students are bullied at least once, each and every week.

– Up to 32% of students are bullied once a week or more often.

– Between 7% and 56% of children reported that they bullied others at some time.

– Up to 43% of those who reported being victims also reported acting as bullies.

School culture and climate:

– School climate is the key factor that determines whether kids will be bullied or not.  A positive school climate (warm relationships and consistently applied high standards of behaviour) are associated with low levels of bullying and aggression.

– 4 dimensions of a school climate: the physical environment, the emotional feel or atmosphere, the academic expectations and the social dimension.

– The product of good school climate is a strong school culture.  This is made up of the basic assumptions and beliefs that are shared by all members of the school that define “What is the tone of our school”.

– Bullying is a relationship problem: it needs a relationship solution.

What do students need to know?

– Firstly, students need to feel safe & heard at school

– They need to know the difference between tattling (get someone into trouble) versus telling (get someone out of trouble)

– Responsible action is when you talk with an adult, in private, if you are concerned about bullying or want to get someone out of trouble

– They must identify the adults in their lives that they trust to be “safe listeners”

– They must know how to ask for help

– Students must hold each other accountable

– When peers intervene, bullying stops in less than 10 seconds, 57% of the time

What can you do as parents?

– Help your child’s school address bullying effectively

– Establish household rules about bullying

– Teach your child how to be a good witness or positive bystander

– Teach your child about cyberbullying

– Spread the word that bullying should not be a normal part of childhood

6 critical life messages for your children:
1. I believe in you.
2. I trust you.
3. I know you can handle it, by asking for help!
4. You are listened to.
5. You are cared for.
6. You are very important to me.

Some great resource sites about bullying:
http://irightthewrong.com/
http://www.prevnet.ca/

Together, we can all work to keep The Akiva School the special place that it is today. For more information on bullying and how to prevent it, please contact Robyn Schreter at robyn@akivaschool.com.