November 15-21 is Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week in Ontario. Bullying is an issue we take seriously at AMDSB, and while we focus on identifying the problem and possible solutions during this week, our schools work daily to promote and model respectful relationships. We are committed to providing resources for educators and parents and giving students the tools to recognize and call out bullying when they see or experience it.
Please visit our AMDSB Mental Health & Well-being website for more information and resources at amdsb.ca/mentalhealth.
How to get help
You can contact Kids Help Phone 24/7! Call 1-800-668-6868 or send a text to 686868.
You could also contact Bullying Canada by calling or texting 1-877-352-4497, or emailing Support@BullyingCanada.ca.
Day 1: What is the difference between conflict and bullying?
We define conflict as when:
- two or more people are having a fight, an argument or disagreement
- there is a similar balance of power (both people are close in grade, age and ability)
- a solution can usually be found
The Ministry of Education’s definition of bullying:
- there is repeated, unwanted, targeted, and aggressive behaviour
- someone is being hurt on purpose
- there is an imbalance of power (one is much younger or much older, for example)
On their page about conflict vs. bullying, Pacer Kids Against Bullying has an insightful video that explains the difference between conflict and bullying:
What can students do if they experience conflict?
- Try to ignore it
- Try to resolve it
- Talk to an adult they trust if the conflict continues
What can students do if they experience bullying?
- Tell the bully to stop
- Seek help from an adult they trust
Day 2: How to recognize and prevent bullying
Help prevent bullying: THINK!
When you are kind, accepting and inclusive it helps others feel valued for who they are, and that they belong. They feel safe and respected.
The world would be a very dull place if we were all the same! We are different, BUT all of our differences are what makes AMDSB so diverse and unique!
The Parents’ RoleSchools alone cannot stop bullying and/or change the behaviour. Although every school has the responsibility to develop a safe school environment while at school, it takes a community to help prevent and stop bullying.
- fostering and creating healthy relationships and helping children recognize healthy relationships
- helping children develop the essential social skills to navigate peer conflicts and by minimizing opportunities for negative peer interactions
- acting on inappropriate behaviours you see - don’t just assume that a problem will work itself out if you sense there is a serious conflict occurring
- supporting and sharing our messaging with your child
- finding out more: What Parents Need to Know (PREVNet)
Day 3: Cyberbullying
What is cyberbullying?
Tips for Preventing Cyberbullying
- Use privacy settings. It is important to keep your content on your social media as private as possible.
- Take a moment before sending an image of yourself. Is it an image you would want everyone to see?
- Start the conversation about cyberbullying with your friends. Support those who have been targeted by cyberbullying and if you know cyberbullies, encourage them to stop.
- It’s important that you don’t participate in negative comments towards someone online. Take a stand. Be the person who supports the person who is being attacked. Be the role model people need! Others may follow your kind actions.
- Always remember to log out of your accounts on your phone or your electronic device when you are not using them.
Video: What Kids Want Parents to Know About Cyberbullying
Day 4: Bystanders
Bystanders are people who witness an action like bullying, either in person or online. Bystanders don’t get involved when they witness bullying because they are worried they cannot help, that others won't approve and they are afraid of being the bullies’ next target.
We want all students to be safe at AMDSB. When having these conversations with students, please remind them to step in and help only if it is safe to do so.
Encourage your child to stop being a bystander and help stop bullying by taking these steps:
- Tell the person who is bullying to stop
- Speak up for the person who is being bullied
- Find someone who has the skills and authority to help, such as an adult
- Let them know that they do not deserve to be treated that way and it is not their fault.
Learn more: How to help a friend who is experiencing bullying (Kids Help Phone)
Day 5: How to help a friend who is experiencing bullying
When students find out their friend is being bullied, it is never easy. Students may feel a lot of emotions. They may be sad, angry or even scared. Remind students to be kind to themselves. They are not the whole solution to the problem. Support students. Encourage them to be supportive for their friends and to also take care of themselves.
Here are 5 ways to help a friend who is experiencing bullying:
- Reach out: Check in and see how your friend is doing. Remind them that you care about them and are there for them.
- Stay Safe: Encourage your friend to make a safety plan with an adult. Their physical and emotional health is important.
- Stick together: Together with friends, you can help show your friend they’re not alone.
- Step in: If you witness bullying you can step in and let the person who is bullying know that their behaviour is not okay. With this step it is important to ensure your own safety. If you feel that you are unsafe, go get an adult to help.
- Get support: Remember, you have to take care of yourself first before you can help others. Helping a friend who is being bullied is serious and can be hard on your own mental health. It is important to take care of yourself and speak with a friend, teacher, parent or safe adult about how you are feeling.
More resources - Cyberbullying
How to Stay Safe on Social Media (Government of Canada)
Information for Parents/Guardians about Cyberbullying (Ministry of Education)
Quiz for kids: Test your online (and offline) safety knowledge (Canadian Centre for Child Protection Inc.)
More resources - Elementary
CBC Kids Small Talks Series - videos containing insight and perspective from children about a range of issues, including bullying
TVO Kids Bullying Awareness & Prevention - using stories to engage children
What kids need to know about bullying (PREVNet)
What is bullying? (Kids Help Phone)
More resources - Secondary
Bystander: What to do if you witness bullying (Kids Help Phone)
Egale - Bullying and cyberbullying prevention resources and webinars for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (or Questioning), Intersex and Two-Spirit (LGBTQI2S) students, parents and allies.
More resources - Parents/Guardians/Caregivers
Bullying: Facts & Solutions (PREVNet)
Bullying: We can all help stop it - in multiple languages (Settlement.org)
Cyber Safety Parent Tip Sheet - in 22 languages (Ontario Principals Council)
K-12 Cyber Awareness Month Resources (ECNO.org)
Parent toolkit for helping their children develop healthy relationships (ontariodirectors.ca)
Types of Bullying (PREVNet)
What is Child Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking? (wrprevent.ca)