Parents and students who are involved in or witness bullying behaviour in schools will now have an easier way to report it.
The province’s Online Reporting Form for Students and Parents went live today, Nov.
“Bullying and cyberbullying are harmful, societal issues facing our students and we need to make sure students and parents are supported,” said Karen Casey, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. “With the online reporting tool students and parents can report incidents of bullying easily and can play an active role in making our schools safer.”
Bullying is when someone repeatedly tries to hurt another person’s body, feelings, self-esteem, reputation, or property. Cyberbullying is when someone uses technology (social networking sites, e-mails, text messages, and the sharing of images) to bully someone else.
In October, Education and Early Childhood Development staff held sessions with 550 principals and administrators across the province to provide training and seek input on the resource.
A number of changes were made based on this feedback. People reporting bullying or cyberbullying will need to include their name to ensure principals are able to do a thorough follow-up when a complaint is received.
“We are always looking for ways to support students and their families in dealing with challenging situations,” said Agnes Greer, principal of Sir John A. Macdonald High School. “This tool will complement existing supports we already have in place and give parents and students another avenue to bring their concerns forward. It will allow us to work together and assist young people in need.”
Other changes include:
–changing the name of the application to Online Reporting Form for Students and Parents
–Shutting down the reporting tool during summer months, Christmas break and March break when schools are closed
–Prompting for more information, such as whether it is an isolated incident or has been happening over time, and other contributing factors
“This is a great online tool for students, as it can be intimidating to approach the school administration directly with information on bullying,” said Lauren Fraser, a student at Citadel High School who attended the province’s antibullying conference in the summer. “This will make it easier for anyone with information to come forward. I strongly encourage students to use it to report any bullying behaviour or activities.”
The online system is one of only a few being used in Canada. It will be continually monitored by the department and adjustments will be made as necessary.
Links to the Online Reporting Form for Students and Parents can be found by visiting www.antibullying.novascotia.ca or on school board websites.
November 18-22 is National Anti-bullying Week in Canada. For more information or for resources and services to help, visit www.antibullying.novascotia.ca.