Schools simply are not safe for all students

Schools simply are not safe for all students
Posted on March 18, 2016 | Karen Sebben | Written on March 18, 2016
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Author's Note:

Author's Note:

We believe that everyone has the right to live, learn and play in a safe and friendly community. The prevention of bullying is as much an adult’s responsibility as it is a child’s responsibility. The York Region Anti-Bullying Coalition's focus is predominantly on adults, parents, caregivers, educators and service providers, because when we provide adults with the knowledge and tools to support children and youth who have been impacted by bullying, as a victim, bully or bystander, we ensure the protection of our children and youth. It is the adults’ response that can mitigate both the short-term and long-term effect of bullying.

On February 27th of this year I wrote a post asking what the Ministry of Education was actually doing to keep our children safe while at school: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-ministry-education-doing-karen-sebben.  Just subsequent to that post, the York Region District School Board  was in the news over issues of racial incidents that were being ignored by the school board: http://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/6329444-racial-incidents-ignored-by-york-school-board-families-say/# And, as recently as last week we now have this situation: https://mindbendingpolitics.wordpress.com/2016/03/17/parents-plea-to-stop-the-bullying-in-her-childs-school-goes-viral/

"A safe, inclusive and accepting school environment is a necessary condition for student success. Students cannot be expected to reach their potential in an environment where they feel insecure and intimidated. We are committed to providing all students with the supports they need to learn, grow and achieve." This statement is taken directly from the Ministry of Education website, yet my phone continues to ring on a weekly basis.  

Parents are continually baffled with the process of trying to navigate the school system, constantly finding themselves on a hamster wheel when all they want is for their child to be safe while at school.

When is all of this bureaucracy by these self-governing corporations called school boards going to end? When are some of our children actually going to be respected by those whom we taught to respect? And most importantly, when are some of the adults within the system going to be held to account?

Ontario has safe schools legislation, the Ministry of Education hands down Policy Program Memorandums, each school board has a safe school policy.  Yet most of this has been created and worded in such an ambiguous manner so as to leave the safety of our students up to the discretion of those in authority.  

I do not categorize our educators.  Having said that I will be the first to point a finger where an injustice has been done.  Too many children's lives have been jeopardized by what is called our educational system and this needs to end.

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About The Author

York Region Anti-Bullying Coalition is a non-profit advocacy organization to assist parents in navigating the complex school system when trying to find answers. We strive for a school system that will foster equality... More

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