Bullying is a form of harassment. The effect of bullying behaviour by students or staff is highly destructive, limiting significantly the right of every person to learn and work in a safe and supportive setting. All members of the school community have a responsibility to create an environment that is characterized by an absence of intimidating or threatening behaviour.
Bullying is a conscious, willful, deliberate, and repeated hostile activity marked by an imbalance of power, intent to harm and/or a threat of aggression. When bullying escalates unabated, it may lead to a feeling of terror on the part of the individual being bullied.
Bullying may include, but is not limited to, physical intimidation or assault; extortion; oral or written threats; teasing putdowns; name-calling; threatening looks, gestures, or actions; cruel rumors; false accusations; and social isolation.
- Bullying in any form is not tolerated in the division, and it is expected that when system staff observes an act of bullying, they will take immediate, appropriate steps to intervene.
- At the beginning of each school year, students shall be informed that bullying behaviour is not acceptable. At that time, students will be encouraged to inform teachers, the principal or their parents when they experience bullying by their peers or by adults in the school or if they become aware that other students are being bullied. This expectation shall be reinforced repeatedly throughout the school year.
- Through the school opening newsletter, the school handbook, and other home/school communications, parents shall be requested to inform school staff when they become aware of bullying incidents occurring in the school community.
- Incidents of bullying by or of members of the staff should be reported to the principal, site supervisor or directly to the Superintendent.
- All reports of bullying are to be investigated fully by the school and/or system staff. Such reviews should take into account knowledge of previous student behaviour and may involve interviews with students, parents and school staff. It may also be necessary to peruse school records, contact previous schools attended and identify relevant family issues.
- Each occurrence of bullying will involve some level of intervention depending on the frequency and severity of the bullying behaviour. In every case, those assigning such sanctions will exercise fairness, common sense and appropriate discretion. Where possible, a response to bullying should include interventions that address restitution, resolution and reconciliation (see Appendix 352A – Bullying Interventions).
- If bullying behaviour escalates, procedures identified in Administrative Procedure 317 – Threat Assessment Protocol may be required.
- Programming shall be implemented system-wide that provides for the prevention of bullying and enhances the building of healthy relationships.