A few good examples
In the case of bullying, as the "law of silence" often comes into play, direct intervention should not be the responsibility of a few individuals, but of an entire "school-team" that includes students.
There are many everyday heroes who've acted out against bullying in Quebec. You will find examples here from different milieus across the province. Let them inspire you to develop your own activities so that you too get the chance to become an everyday hero.
A real Hero's Haven
At Heroes' Memorial elementary school, students have a designated area called the Hero's Haven where they can resolve their conflicts, speak to an adult in confidence, or simply do their homework without fear of being bullied. The entire student body agrees that the initiative has helped improve the atmosphere at school. Proof that the approach gets results, during a recent cartoon contest with a bullying theme organized by the school board, Heroes' Memorial students walked off with half the awards! Grade 6 students also created videos on the subject of bullying where they presented bullying situations as well as ways to deal with or avoid them altogether. All in all, this modest initiative went a long way to addressing the problem thanks to the involvement of students, staff and parents.
Look to the Mountain
‘Look to the Mountain’ is an outdoor experiential education program that has been created at the Learning Centre in conjunction with the Eastern Townships School Board, to help students discover their individual path to success by restoring hope.
The students chosen to participate in the 'Look to the Mountain' activities are registered in one of the 2 Pathway Programs. They may have been victims of bullying or bullies themselves.
The ‘Look to the Mountain’ Pathway Program works to restore hope in the lives of the "at risk" population by employing a "circle of courage" philosophy with a goal of helping students achieve a normal sense of belonging, independence, mastery and generosity.
“Belonging" is the key to the program, because once the students feel like they belong to a group, they are more likely to want to stay part of a group, attend school on a regular basis and avoid situations that would result in suspension/expulsion. The number of students suspended/expelled/absent has been greatly reduced with those who have been followed over a few years.
We offer an intensive academic/behavioural intervention with students in which they are placed into in small groups (13-17) of students with extra Math, English and resource time. The idea is to get them back into the regular high school graduation stream.
In exceptional cases, a student registered in another program may participate in order to support them in their attempts to stay in school. Credit for skills is given for transferable competencies to those within the Pathways Program such as English, Math, and the QEP nine cross-curricular competencies that are grouped into four categories:
- Intellectual: Uses information, Solves problems; Exercises critical judgment; Uses creativity
- Methodological: Adopts effective work methods; Uses information and communications technologies
- Personal and social: Achieves his/her potential; Cooperates with others
- Communication-related: Communicates appropriately
Taking action at Dominique-Savio School
Staff at MRC de Memphrémagog drew inspiration from a community action plan against bullying and violence first developed in British Columbia. The initiative, which brings together members of the school community as well as the community at large (including police, social services providers, daycares, parents, etc.), aims to create an action plan to set boundaries for students who bully others, assist victims and support witnesses so that they will be more inclined to report acts of intimidation. Among the measures put forth by the action committee was a play on the subject presented to students (Quand tu vois rouge – When you see red) as well as training to better equip students to confront the problem.
The Commission scolaire de la Rivière-du-Nord goes to great lengths to fight bullying.
The Commission scolaire de la Rivière-du-Nord’s Oasis school has developed a series of measures that use positive role models to combat bullying.
- A group of young leaders in the school took on the issue by saying no to bullying and violence. These students are there to listen to their peers, lend a helping hand, offer their support and assist adults with schoolyard monitoring.
- Students get involved in class presentations where they can voice their ideas on how to prevent bullying.
- Every student taking part in extracurricular activities must undergo challenges that emphasize respect and in which everyone must act in accordance with positive values.
- Acting together to nurture a value system over the long term is also a favoured method. That’s why every teacher advocates positive values in the classroom and in the school. Then, using social skills workshops during free time, students requiring additional assistance can have these values reinforced.
- The school choir, with help from the music teacher, composed a song dealing with the subjects of staying in school and violence prevention.
Initiatives at Pie XII Elementary School in Repentigny
Grade 4 students made anti-bullying bracelets. Many of them proudly wear their bracelet as a reminder that bullying is not welcome at Pie XII School.
Grade 6 students created a series of posters denouncing bullying and cyberbullying. These posters deal with emotions felt by victims and aggressors while providing information on bullying and on who to contact to report such acts. They are posted in various locations around the school.
Secondary 1 students at Normandin High School made a real difference
After a meeting on the subject of bullying, students pointed out that members of their grade level had been the victims of bullying and also its perpetrators, and that these events went largely unreported. We know that bullying can start in elementary school. That’s why Normandin High School students created an audio book entitled Où est Babak, le Monarque? to help young bullying victims from 3 to 7 years of age.
This high quality, professionally produced audio book contains stories told by Babak, the monarch butterfly, to his friends the flowers. The students have presented excerpts of their story at a press conference and in front of an audience made up of first-year students from every grade school in the region. The event took place at the Normandin High School gym.
Drama workshop at Westmount Park School!
At Westmount Park Elementary School, they've come up with innovative and creative ways to address different issues, including bullying. Using drama workshops, students explore and resolve their problems involving situations they might find themselves in at school. Students get the chance to live experiences they might not have yet encountered, which helps them understand the consequences of their reactions. A student bully can, for example, find his or her self in the role of bullying victim or witness, and he or she might realize that there are solutions other than resorting to bullying in these situations. The method promotes feelings of empathy and understanding among students, and the role reversals, even if they are just role playing, lead to real changes in student behaviour.