Research suggests that in a class of 25 students, two-to-four are engaging in bullying behaviour or are being bullied. At some point, the majority of students will engage in some form of bullying behaviour, or experience bullying themselves.
Because adult intervention is the key to bullying prevention, parents and educators need to be aware of the behaviours and signs that young people are being bullied. Since bullying is a relationship problem, parents and educators must also look for signs of bullying within the young person’s relationships.
What is it we want children and youth to learn through our discipline practices? How do we encourage the young people in our lives to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do? How do we teach children and youth to take responsibility and be accountable for their actions and their words?
Bullying is a repeated pattern of unprovoked, deliberate and aggressive physical or verbal behaviour, marked by an imbalance of power and intent or threat to harm. Bullying is therefore a relationship problem. It is about power and the abuse of power. Bullying is always unwanted, unwelcome and uncomfortable to the person who is bullied.
One of the most important aspects of creating welcoming, caring, respectful and safe environments for children and youth is the protecting and honouring of human rights.
Canada is a pluralist society with a diversity of religions and spiritual practices. Because schools are microcosms of society, issues related to religious beliefs and practices can emerge there, too. Dealing with these issues is especially challenging when students are ridiculed, harassed or bullied because of their religion.
Throughout Canada’s history, immigrants from around the world have come to Canada seeking religious freedom, economic prosperity and escape from political persecution, civil strife and even war. Regardless of why people are here and whether they are recent newcomers or longtime citizens, their children need to succeed in school. This means providing welcoming, safe, caring and respectful learning environments that build understanding, promote inclusion and empathy and foster respect for everyone.
Understanding the unique and diverse histories and worldviews of First Nations, Métis and Inuit students will help teachers create more responsive and welcoming learning environments.