Ministry of Education, Office of the Premier, Education Sector, Families Sector, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Region, Kootenay Rockies Region, Northern B.C. Region, Provincewide, Thompson / Okanagan Region, Vancouver Coast & Mountains Region, Vancouver Island / Coast Region

Premier Announces ERASE; Bullying Strategy

/2012/06/premier-announces-erase-bullying-strategy.html
Education, Families Friday, June 1, 2012 10:30 AM


SURREY - Premier Christy Clark announced a new provincewide 10-point anti-bullying strategy that will help ensure every child feels safe, accepted and respected, regardless of their gender, race, culture, religion, or sexual orientation.

"We all want our kids to be safe, especially at school. That's why when I became Premier, I promised to address bullying in our school system as a high priority for my government, "said Premier Clark. "I am so proud to announce ERASE Bullying, a nation-leading strategy that will ensure every child in our province feels safe, accepted and respected."

ERASE Bullying (Expect Respect And a Safe Education) is a comprehensive strategy that will make British Columbia a leader in addressing bullying and harmful behaviours. The 10 elements of the plan will begin in the 2012/13 school year and include:

  • A five-year, multi-level training program for educators and community partners to help them proactively identify and address threats.
  • New online tools, including a Smartphone app, for kids to report bullying anonymously.
  • Dedicated safe school co-ordinators in every school district.
  • Stronger codes of conduct for schools.
  • Provincial guidelines for threat assessments.
  • New online resources for parents.
  • Formal protocols to guide and co-ordinate the work of school and community partners.
  • A provincial advisory committee with representatives from police, school and social agency partners.
  • Focusing one of the existing six provincial teacher professional development days on anti-bullying.
  • Anti-bullying and threat assessment training for pre-service teachers.

"With this strategy, the British Columbia government has firmly placed itself as the national leader in supporting the development of anti-bullying and threat assessment protocols," said international expert Kevin Cameron, executive director of the Canadian Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response.

This strategy will help prevent, identify and stop harmful behaviours by children and adults - whether online, at school, or in the community. It ensures consistent policies and practices across all 60 school districts, backed by strong community partnerships.

"I'm very proud to be bringing in the first provincewide co-ordinated anti-bullying strategy," said Minister of Education George Abbott. "Over the next five years, we'll deliver specialized training to over 15,000 educators and community partners. We already have some great programs for elementary kids such as WITS and Roots of Empathy, which teach them about respect and the importance of reporting bullying. What we're doing now is making sure we have consistent policies and procedures in place that help educators and other partners take action to address bullying and harmful behaviours."

Today's announcement builds on the Premier's expansion in 2011 of the Seeds of Empathy (preschoolers) and Roots of Empathy (elementary) programs. The two programs reach 359 elementary school classrooms and 22 preschools or child-care settings, teaching young children about empathy, trust and support of others.

Contacts:

Trevor Halford
Senior Communications Coordinator
Office of the Premier
250 588-0565

Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education
250 356-5963

A backgrounder follows.

BACKGROUNDER

ERASE Bullying 10-point Strategy

1. A five-year, multi-level training regime to train 15,000 educators and community partners. Year one training includes:

a. Anti-bullying training, initially for elementary schools.

b. Threat/risk assessment training, initially for middle and secondary schools.

Approximately 20 per cent of the training provided in each region will available to community partners. This includes police, mental health workers, child-welfare workers, and other community partners.

2. A new Smartphone app and online tools for kids to report bullying anonymously.

3. Each district must designate a safe schools co-ordinator who will monitor the online student reporting site, have direct communication with the Ministry of Education, manage the ongoing relationship with community partners, and co-ordinate the delivery of multi-level training.

4. Stronger codes of conduct for schools that must include a duty to report and respond in each district, and strengthened language consistent with the Human Rights Act. The enhanced codes must include: "The prohibition of discrimination on the basis of an individual's or a group's race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex or sexual orientation, or age."

5. Provincial guidelines for threat assessments and a template for district level threat assessment protocols.

6. Enhanced online resources, including new multimedia information for parents.

7. Each school district must develop formal community protocols to guide and co-ordinate their work with community partners such as Ministry of Children and Family Development child-care workers, police, and mental-health professionals.

8. Creation of a provincial advisory committee, with representatives from police, schools, social agencies and other community partners.

9. Focus one of the six provincial teacher professional development days on anti-bullying and a safe school culture within a personalized learning environment.

10. Anti-bullying and threat risk assessment materials and training will be made available to university education programs for their inclusion in the teacher training curriculum.

Contacts:

Trevor Halford
Senior Communications Coordinator
Office of the Premier
250 588-0565

Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education
250 356-5963


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