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CONNECTS NOVEMBER 2012 SPECIAL EDITION

ANTI-BULLYING POLICIES AND ACTION PLAN

COLLINGWOOD SCHOOL


IN THIS ISSUE NOVEMBER 2012

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MESSAGE FROM THE HEADMASTER

BULLYING POLICY AT COLLINGWOOD

ANTI-BULLYING SUMMARY: WENTWORTH

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ANTI-BULLYING SUMMARY: MORVEN

ABSTRACT: JOHN REID’S SEMI-ANNUAL LETTER TO MIDDLE SCHOOL PARENTS CYBERBULLYING


Message from the Headmaster be spread anywhere. It can be as secretive as using bcc or as explicit as posting to YouTube. Whatever the delivery vehicle, the hurtful message can be devilishly pervasive and devastatingly penetrating. What to do?

When our son was growing up, he was very small for his age, wore thick-rimmed eye glasses, and had a mouth that often worked faster than his brain. Louise and I were always worried about him being bullied. We kept an eye on him at home, and trusted his schools to do the same, which for the most part they did. He eventually got his growth spurt and his contacts and all was well. Looking back on this time in my parental life all I can say is, “Whew...I am glad we didn’t have the internet.” Facts of modern life such as email, Facebook, iPhones and the like have changed the terms of engagement between bullies and victims. Now bullying can happen anytime and

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In this dedicated edition of e-Connects, we won’t offer foolproof solutions; however, we will explain what we have in place now and what else we intend to do. It is a dilemma that has occupied a considerable amount of our thought and energy for years. Although cyberbullying is the thorniest issue, our study this year will extend to the policies, practices, and education of all forms of bullying, harassment, and discrimination. Ian Kennedy, Head of Wentworth, and Lisa Evans, Head of Morven, have taken on this issue as a priority this year. They will not only be continuing to execute our policies with discretion, but they will be putting in play some of the latest research-driven mitigation.


In the meantime, here is what you can do as parents: 1. Please re-read our Honour Code and Discipline Protocol. We’ve included the relevant paragraphs, and a précis of our follow-up practices on the next two pages. Please refer to Honour Code & Discipline Protocol for the entire text. 2. Please take a look at John Reid’s helpful letter about monitoring your children’s on-line activities. Yes, you have every right, dare I say an obligation, to have full access to your child’s email and social media accounts, i.e. Facebook, twitter. John’s letter is reprinted on page 20.

We do know that home and school can greatly ameliorate bullying by being informed, vigilant, decisive, and in continual communication. We also know that we must set impeccable examples ourselves in the treatment of others. Let’s continue to work together to make our children’s childhood days filled with wonder and happiness.

Rodger Wright Headmaster

3. Try to talk frankly with your children about the issue of bullying. This problem will not be solved on the internet but rather at the dinner table. 4. Encourage your child, regardless of age, to always speak up to a trusted adult if they feel unsafe, confused, or hurt by the language or actions of others. We don’t know all the answers to this insidious problem.

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bullying is “a conscious,willful, deliberate hostile and repeated behaviour by one or more people, which is intended to harm others. “


BULLYING POLICY AT COLLINGWOOD WHAT IS BULLYING? Simply put, bullying is “a conscious, wilful, deliberate, hostile and repeated behaviour by one or more people, which is intended to harm others.“ (Independent School Management, 2004). Bullying takes many forms, and can include the following: • Verbal – name calling, insults, etc. • Physical – pushing, shoving, punching • Relational – leaving someone out of a group (exclusion) • Cyber bullying – using computers, the Internet, mobile phones, etc. to bully others • Extortion – stealing someone’s belongings or money One of the goals at Collingwood is to better understand and identify when an issue is an inter-personal conflict and when something is bullying. The difference between the two is largely based upon a student’s motivation and the duration of the behaviour. HOW IS THIS INTERPRETED AT WENTWORTH? On any given day at Wentworth, children will have both positive and negative experiences in their interactions with their peers. We understand that children ‘rough-house’ and wrestle and play competitive and spirited games. These games, often with their friends, lead to situations where children overreact and use words or hit out at another. It is natural for

students to have classmates that they enjoy playing with more than others. This is not deliberate exclusion but normal social behaviour. As a school, we educate the children to be respectful and kind and for some children this comes naturally, others need to learn from their mistakes and we deal with these situations on a behavioural and educational level. Unlike the above examples, bullying is when the behaviour is conscious, deliberate, and repeated with the intention to cause harm. Not being invited to a birthday party is one thing; however, if a child encourages others to exclude another from their party or activity and repeatedly taunts them over an extended period of time, this is an example of persistent harassment and could be deemed to be bullying. HOW IS THIS INTERPRETED AT MORVEN? High school life is focused on learning who you are within the context of family, friends, and classmates. This can be confusing, especially as friendships change and shift, and students find themselves looking to forge new relationships. On any given day at Morven, a student may sit down at a cafeteria table only to find that the other students stand up to leave. This may be perceived as bullying by one person, but the other students may have merely finished their lunch! Making friends and being part of a group are integral to a student’s social development. At the same time, however, adults cannot force adolescents to be friends – this is an

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BULLYING POLICY   COLLINGWOOD

individual’s choice. We believe that students do not have to be friends, but they must be respectful of one another as we are all members of the school community. The everyday teenage social challenges can become hurtful and move from inter-personal conflict to situations involving bullying, harassment or intimidation. For example, two Senior students were dating. Their relationship broke up and one person used his influence to get classmates on his side, thereby blaming the girl for the break-up. He did not recognize his actions as being exclusionary and had to meet with the School’s Administration to have the message made clear to him. In another instance, a group of girls decided that they didn’t like the new girl. They took it upon themselves to aggravate her, tease her, and generally make her life difficult. It was only through individual meetings, class discussions, and a grade-wide meeting that the girls truly understood how much they had hurt a classmate. It is very rare for a physical confrontation to occur between students at the Morven Campus. We once had a boy say insulting words to another on-line, and the other boy reciprocated. They decided to “settle things once and for all” by challenging each other to a fist fight at school. Just as they squared-off for the fight, they were interrupted by a teacher and brought to the office. These two boys were former friends who had gotten caught-up in insulting one another, publicly, and pride would not allow either to back down or

apologize to the other. In the end they did just this, and realized how foolish they had been. Teaching students the difference between inter-personal conflict and instances of bullying, harassment or intimidation is important for preparing them to lead caring and compassionate lives beyond high school. WHAT ARE THE SCHOOL RULES? The following paragraphs have been abstracted from our school’s Honour Code and Discipline Protocol. Although we ask parents to indicate that they have read and understood this policy annually, we realize that there is a lot of material to wade through. Accordingly, we’ve tried to excise the essential elements which apply to bullying. 1. Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination The diversity of the Collingwood community offers a special opportunity to learn and practice understanding, tolerance, and compassion. Impinging on the well-being of others or violating their rights is totally unacceptable. Any incidents involving bullying or cyber-bullying, fighting, sexual, physical, or emotional harassment, or racial, religious or ethnic intolerance or physical abuse or threats will be dealt with as serious disciplinary matters. Equally unacceptable is any hazing or “initiation” harassment. 2. Duty to Intervene and Report Every Collingwood student has a duty to take reasonable steps to stop any incident of

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bullying, fighting, or harassment, including reporting such incident to a teacher or administrator immediately. However, a student should not try to stop any such incident if doing so would pose any risk to his or her own personal safety, and should instead only report the incident to a teacher or administrator immediately. A failure by a student, without reasonable excuse (such as a risk to the student’s own personal safety) to take reasonable steps to stop any incident of bullying, fighting, or harassment may result in disciplinary consequences to him or her. HOW DO WE INVESTIGATE? Any alleged, reported, or observed violation of these two major rules immediately invokes an investigation. Depending on circumstances, that investigation would include discussions with all students directly or indirectly involved, both sets of parents, teachers, housemasters, and any staff with relevant information. Again, depending on the facts on the ground, the investigation could be led by a teacher, a Director, or the Head of Wentworth or a Housemaster or the Head of Morven. In serious cases, the Headmaster is always involved and, in most cases, the Headmaster is informed through weekly “Red Flag” meetings, which includes management from both campuses and the School’s Psychologist, Dr. Hotz. These meetings discuss any student who is in crisis and would often provide input and perspective on serious bullying incidents.

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PRINCIPLES Much can be said about a school by the way it handles serious disciplinary issues, and Collingwood is committed to carrying out this important responsibility keeping the following principles in mind: 1. We assess each situation individually. Precedents can be helpful, and they usually determine the range of punishments. Still, each circumstance has its unique set of facts, which require different responses. 2. With any of our major rules, the School does not normally treat first-time offenders the same way as chronic offenders. 3. Different punishments might apply to different age groups. 4. The School appreciates that most mistakes arise from lack of judgment due to immaturity. Collingwood does not hate the sinner, it hates the sin! When the dust settles from a disciplinary violation, we try to give the offending student every opportunity to redeem himself or herself and move on. 5. The Headmaster, the Head of Wentworth, or the Head of Morven are pleased to speak with any student or parent who is having trouble with the way they perceive a discipline case is being handled. In fact, we greatly prefer that you do speak directly with us and not let any confusion or disenchantment fester.


BULLYING POLICY   COLLINGWOOD

WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF A MAJOR RULE INFRINGEMENT? The School reserves the right to sanction students for infringements of any major rules along a continuum from a 1-day in-school suspension to expulsion. Collingwood treats discipline using two levels: developmental discipline and consequential discipline. Developmental discipline includes a period suspension, a 1-day internal suspension, and a 3-dayinternal suspension using local programs like “Constructive Alternative to Teen Suspension” through Vancouver Coastal Health. The move to Consequential Discipline occurs when there is at least a 3-day internal suspension and no other alternative programs are put in place. Further misbehaviour will lead to an external suspension ranging from 3 days to 14 days and, ultimately, expulsion. Up to this point, we have taken steps with students to try and reinforce the message about good decision making. When we reach the Consequential Discipline stage, we are not intervening anymore – the steps escalate quickly and the student and family need to heed the message that the child is on the path to being asked to leave the school. The School may also place a student on academic or behaviour probation or on both. In this case certain clearly articulated improvements would need to be seen otherwise students may be asked to leave or denied re-enrolment. Parents/Guardians will be informed of their child’s actions in all of these cases.

We should all appreciate that unravelling and deciding upon an issue of bullying is a highly complex and necessarily confidential matter. Every year, there are cases which seem clear cut on the surface, but upon closer study end up being very different than initially perceived. The point is that things aren’t always what they appear to be and people usually come to conclusions based on their own perspective. Accordingly, although it is quite human to do so, we are asking parents not to be quick to condone or condemn another parent’s child or indeed, the School’s response, based on limited facts.

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bullying transcends school walls, homes and neighbourhoods, and all successful anti-bullying approaches involve education and communication between students, educators and families


ANTI-BULLYING SUMMARY: WENTWORTH Bullying transcends school walls, homes

This program is designed to help children

and neighbourhoods, and all successful

develop strategies to resolve their own

anti-bullying approaches involve

small problems and take larger problems to

education and communication between

a trusted adult. It is designed to

students, educators and families. As a

empower students and give them a voice.

Wentworth Community we need to have a

As a school, we have hosted parent

clear understanding of what defines

information evenings led by professionals

bullying and how it differs from day-to-day

such as Barbara Coloroso, Dr. Ron Clavier,

interpersonal conflict.

and Jessie Miller.

The Wentworth leadership team is currently

2. Accountability. At Wentworth, students

investigating a number of different

and parents are asked to review and

anti-bullying approaches that include age

sign-off on the Collingwood School Honour

appropriate restorative justice, education

Code and the Student Acceptable

and community participation.

Computer Use Policy. (Grades 6-12) on an

As a school we have strategies for

annual basis. Our Honour Code emphasizes

educating our students about how we

ongoing and unconditional respect for all.

respect others and what to do if bullying

Students are educated, through assemblies

occurs.

and classes, that it is not acceptable to be a bystander while another is being bullied

1. Education. At Wentworth, courteous

or harassed, and all students are expected

behaviour and respect for each other is

to intervene and report incidents of

modeled and taught from the moment the

bullying to an adult.

children enter our school. We educate our student body in the area of bullying and

3. Action. All reported incidents of bullying

infuse social responsibility into all aspects

are investigated and recorded.

of our programs and curriculum. This year

Appropriate actions are taken to help the

we have discussed bullying in our Grade

victim, the bully and the bystander.

6/7 inquiry blocks and staff meetings, and

Students, teachers and parents are often

we have used age-appropriate language in

interviewed, and where necessary, parents

discussions with all children. We have

are made fully aware of the situation.

successfully implemented Kelso’s Choices,

We have a school psychologist who is on

a conflict resolution program, in the

hand to give advice to students, parents,

Primary Program.

teachers and administration.

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Collingwood School Anti-bullying Policies and Action Plan  www.collingwood.org


ANTI-BULLYING   WENTWORTH

Disciplinary action includes but is not

•We are planning on having more

limited to: in school suspension, external

professional development on bullying as a

suspension, mandatory professional

faculty and would like to host another

counselling for students, or expulsion.

parent night on the topic.

4. Moving Forward

• We will continue to use visible projects

• We are starting the process of

around the school to address the issue of

redeveloping the Wentworth discipline

respect and understanding for one another.

guidelines and policies. These will include defining bullying, the reporting of bullying

• We are investigating the use of an on-line

and our approach to the handling of

software system to report, track, and log

individual bullying incidents.

bullying incidences.

• We are tracking and recording all reported bullying incidents, where they occurred and what action was taken. •We will be updating our Acceptable Computer Use agreement to include the correct use of social media in the context of bullying and we will be developing an age-appropriate document for the lower grades. • Mr. Kennedy is currently investigating working with Dr. Shelley Hymel from UBC. Dr. Hymel is recognized nationally for her work on bullying and school and community based approaches.

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ANTI-BULLYING SUMMARY: MORVEN Bullying is a societal issue that extends

Respect for other people and their

beyond the walls of a school. Through the

beliefs is also at the root of course

combined efforts of peers, teachers, school

curriculum in Social Studies, Languages,

administrators, and families we strive

and English.

to identify, address, and re-educate adolescents about how their actions hurt,

In addition, we have hosted Parent

demean, frighten or exclude others.

Information evenings in past years, with

Our goal is to be a safe and caring school

professionals in this area, including:

community where the qualities of

Barbara Coloroso, Dr. Ron Clavier, and Mr.

compassion, respect, empathy and

Jessie Miller.

understanding are evident in our daily interactions.

2. Accountability. Students and parents are asked to review and sign-off on the

Our strategies for educating students on

Collingwood School Honour Code &

anti-bullying policies, programs, and actions

Discipline Protocol as well as the Student

occur in a variety of ways:

Acceptable Use Computer Policy on an annual basis. Collingwood School has a

1. Education. Our teachers, Housemasters,

clear “Bystander Rule” called a “Duty

and invited guest speakers identify what

to Intervene and Report”. Students know

bullying is, the types of bullying, and how it

that it is not acceptable to merely watch

impacts the victim, the bully, and the school

another be bullied or harassed and to do

community.

nothing to try and stop this from happening.

Our students attend plays and presentations in the Lower Mainland focused upon

Students’ on-line behaviour is also

promoting anti-bullying messages.

addressed through curricular lessons

Specific lessons are given about social

whereby students and teachers are working

media and appropriate on-line “netiquette”

together in a blog/weebly/portfiolio

in grade assemblies and individual classes

program.

such as English 8, English 9, and Planning 10.

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students know that it is not acceptable to merely watch another be bullied or harassed and to do nothing to try and stop this from happening


ANTI-BULLYING   MORVEN

3. Action. Every incident of bullying is fully

• conducting a Student Survey about

investigated and actions are taken to help

bullying at Morven;

the victim, the bully and the bystander. • conducting a Faculty Survey about Students, teachers and parents are often

bullying at Morven;

interviewed, and the School Psychologist, and our West Vancouver Police

• Holding in-service presentations to better

Department School Liaison Officers are

educate and support teachers in addressing

valuable resources in resolving issues.

bullying in class and around the school; and

Disciplinary action includes but is not limited to: in-school suspension, external

• focusing upon visible projects around the

suspension, mandatory professional

school that address the issue of respect and

counselling for students, or expulsion.

understanding for one another at a curricular (class) level.

4. Moving Forward. We have formed a Committee of teachers and Housemasters

We anticipate that once we have data from

to examine and review Collingwood’s

the various surveys, we will be conducting

Anti-bullying procedures and processes,

focus groups with students and teachers in

determining where there is room for

order to delve more deeply into issues that

improvement, growth and change. Some

are revealed. Our goal is to have a

of the steps that we will be taking during

“Next Steps: Plan of Action” to present

the 2012/13 school year include:

to the School’s Administration in the spring of 2013.

• investigating an on-line software system to report, track, and log bullying incidences; • gathering policy and program information from other BC Independent Schools, Canadian Independent Schools, and American Independent Schools to compare with Collingwood. We want to develop a “best practice” in this area;

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ABSTRACT FROM JOHN REID’S SEMI-ANNUAL LETTER TO MIDDLE SCHOOL PARENTS -MARCH 2012 During the second term, we have continued our efforts to help our students become responsible and ethical web users. Technology influences many aspects of our students’ lives, often allowing for home and social life to overflow into academic life. Through these ongoing efforts, we have reminded students that their online behaviour is viewed by everyone, no matter where they are. This is something that is especially relevant to Middle School students. Parents’ involvement in their kids’ online lives continues to be essential; they need adults to help them develop good judgment and critical thinking skills to deal with situations, information and people they encounter online. It is our collective responsibility to guide students to harness the power of technology and the internet in a positive manner. I respect that each family handles these matters in its own way but I believe it is completely appropriate for you to know the password to your Middle School child’s email and Facebook accounts. After all, as parents you have paid for the computer and also for the internet access. Not only does this enable you to occasionally check in on who they are communicating with, it also reinforces with your child that they are accountable for their digital footprint. They are just as responsible for their virtual choices and actions as they are in the real world. During March Break, students will have more free time on their hands. With many of us travelling, they will also be motivated to stay in touch with their friends via Facebook and through text messages. Please make a point of carefully and regularly monitoring your child’s online activities via both the computer and their cell phones during this period.

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I’m often asked by parents for specific suggestions about how best to do this monitoring; here are a few of my favourite resources and ideas: i) Review the resources available at The Door that’s not Locked. This website has been created by the Canadian Center for Child Protection and provides a one-stop-shop on all things related to Internet safety. You’ll find it is full of a variety of resources and tools that will help you keep your child safer while they’re exploring and enjoying the online world. From learning what online activities are popular and how your child uses them, to discovering ways to talk to your child about healthy versus unhealthy relationships, this website will give you the important information you need. My favorite section is called “The 411 for online activities” which has age specific information and tools for parents. The link to the website is here: http://www.thedoorthatsnotlocked.ca/app/en/parent ii) Sit down with your child and review their Facebook profile. Take a look at who they are friends with and ask about anyone you do not know. Also, take a look at what photos, videos and comments your child has posted on their profile and make note of what time of day these items were posted. Finally, take a look at their privacy settings and make sure you are comfortable with how they are configured. Specific tips on how to do this are available here: http://www.facebook.com/safety/groups/parents/ and here: http://www.connectsafely.org/pdfs/fbparents.pdf iii) A suggestion that has worked well for parents who are dealing with a student who is “testing the limits” is implementing a family internet and/or cell phone use agreement. These help students clearly understand what is and isn’t acceptable. These are often drawn up during a conversation between student and parents but an example of an internet use agreement and cell phone use agreement that I like are available here: http://www.cyberbullying.us/resources.php

John Reid Dean of Instructional Growth and Faculty

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What Statistics Say ... 25% of young Canadian Internet users say that someone has sent them messages that have said hateful things about others (Source: Young Canadians in a Wired World -Mnet Survey, 2001)

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A 2002 British survey found that one in four youth, aged 11 to 19 has been threatened via their computers or cell phones, including death threats. NCH -National Children’s Home (UK)


CYBERBULLYING WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT CYBERBULLYING? Awareness and education are the key. Since class projects often dictate that students spend time online, educators and officials are responsible to educate their students about the dangers of the Internet and how to protect themselves - both at home and in school. The following points should be emphasized in your lesson plans. 1. Never give out or share personal information. Personal information includes your name, the names of friends or family, your address, phone number, school name (or team name if you play sports), pictures of yourself, and your email address. 2. Never tell anyone your password except your parents or guardian. 3. Don't believe everything you read. Just because someone says they are a 15-year-old female, how do you know that the person is not a 50-year-old male? 4. Use Netiquette. Be polite to others online just as you would offline. If someone treats you rudely - don’t respond. Online bullies are just like offline ones - they WANT you to answer. Don't give them the satisfaction. 5. Never send a message to others when you are angry. Wait until you have had time to calm down and think. 6. Never open a message from someone you don't know. If in doubt, ask your parents, guardian, or another adult. If it doesn't look or "feel right", it probably isn't. 7. Trust your instincts. While surfing the Internet, if you find something that you don't like, makes you feel uncomfortable or scares you, turn off the computer and tell an adult.

Source: Cyberbullying Š 2004 Bullying.org Canada Incorporated.

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Resources: http://www.stopbullying.gov http://www.thinkb4youspeak.com http://www.kidshelpphone.ca/teens/home.aspx http://www.bullyingawarenessweek.org/ COLLINGWOOD SCHOOL


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