The article “Bullying problem in Harbour Grace” in the February 18, 2014 issue of The Compass has compelled me to address the seriousness of bullying in our schools.
Letter to the editor
Every day is an opportunity to work towards preventing violence in schools and it’s important that children, families, teachers and administrators know what constitutes bullying and understand what the consequences are. Violence prevention at school starts with violence awareness, it’s imperative that families openly discuss situations which can lead to violence in schools and learn how to address those situations.
The initiatives to implement the Safe and Caring Schools Policy and make amendments to the Schools Act 1997 have been a positive step forward in reducing or eliminating school violence. However, it is critical that Government allocate funding for initiatives, such as the expected database of reported incidents and actions taken, that is outlined in the legislation. With an already strained school system, it’s imperative that Government have the appropriate resources dedicated to implement this policy because no child should ever feel unsafe at school.
In a School Climate Survey, conducted by the Department of Education in 2012, as many as 45% of Grade 12 students indicated they feel unsafe while travelling on the school bus. That’s an alarming statistic and one that is just not acceptable.
Statistics have shown that individuals who are bullied and experience violence at a young age often have difficulties later in life. It is vital that every effort is made to end school violence, so that every young person in our province can have the chance of a bright future.
Awareness is the first step in eliminating bullying, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that February is Violence Prevention Month and February 26 is Anti-Bullying Day. While every day is an opportunity to work towards preventing bullying, it is important to have these times of awareness to bring this serious issue to light. Everyone is responsible for ensuring that all bullying is stopped. It’s important to discuss bullying at home and in schools; and to ensure that proper measures are taken to address violence in school, so that all children feel safe at all times.
— Dale Kirby is the education critic for the official opposition, and MHA for St. John's North