From zero-tolerance rules to restorative justice mediation circles, today’s schools handle bullying incidents in a variety of ways, not all of them effective. Some issues get resolved and some don`t. Sometimes parents, students and teachers are satisfied with outcomes, and sometimes there are lingering bad feelings, continued harassment or staff members without the appropriate resources to make a difference over the long-term.
Bill 56, Quebec’s newly adopted anti-bullying and anti-violence legislation for schools, aims to focus school anti-violence and anti-bullying plans on effective and accountable measures. Administrators are charged with preparing a detailed policy document for each school by December 31st, 2012 to describe how they will handle future bullying incidents. These documents must be shared with parents and students, and be written in accessible language. Prevention initiatives must be undertaken, school stakeholders involved. Linkages must be made with local police force and community health organizations. And at the end of every year, an evaluation of all incidents needs to be undertaken in a report to be sent to parents.
It’s a lot of work, and many school administrators are seeking the resources and background knowledge to take this on. Since the policy documents require a detailed discussion of how different kinds of bullying incidents, involving kids at different ages and school levels, will be handled, it also presumes knowledge of best practices on this subject.
To that end, McGill University’s Office of Leadership in Community and International Initiatives (LCII, formerly CEL), in collaboration with MELS has invited me to facilitate a November 14th working session with principals and school coordinators designated with preparing these documents. Participants are invited to bring any existing policy documents, templates or working drafts and prepare to roll up their sleeves for a day of drafting, writing and rewriting the required materials. A MELS representative will be on hand to assist with the process, provide information and answer any questions.
We are looking forward to a day of collaboration and efficient, focused work on the tasks at hand. Principals or school administrators can sign up here.