This week is Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week…
Our students tell us that they have experienced bullying in our schools and/or they know someone who has been bullied.
We work tirelessly in HWDSB to create cultures of safety and inclusion in our schools, but unfortunately bullying still exists.
In my own experience of working with students over the last 26 years, I have always wondered what causes one student to bully another.
Though many reasons are often given for why some students are bullies, my experience tells me that bullies are actually very fearful. Maybe they are fearful because they do not have self-confidence or self-esteem. Often they possess social status and are given their power by other groups of students. And yet, even with this status or position, they still need to bully others in order to enhance their own sense of self.
Unfortunately, their personal fear drives their bullying behaviour towards other students, which is intimidating and harmful.
Regardless of the reason, bullying cannot be tolerated. It isn’t tolerated!
Each of our students deserves to feel safe and included in our schools. We know that this experience of well-being helps students learn better.
The major problem, though, is that bullies know how to hide their behaviour from adults. Further, students often tell us they fear that if they tell an adult about a bully, the bullying will get worse. Evidence would suggest the opposite is actually true.
My message during this important week is that we need our students in order to eradicate bullying. Our students know who the bullies are and they see their fellow students being bullied. Our commitment is to continue supporting our students in standing up and speaking out to create the safe environments that our students need and deserve. When our students join together with our staff and demand that no student is harassed, or harmed in any way, and they demand that their school is inviting, respectful, and inclusive of all, then we will be successful in our fulfilment of our HWDSB strategic directions.
Achievement Matters, Engagement Matters and Equity Matters in Hamilton and bullying has no place in any school, department or community in HWDSB. Lets work together to realize this commitment!