Stop Bullying in its Tracks: National School Safety Week Aims to Protect Canada’s Youth

by Staff

National School Safety Week, scheduled for October 17-23, is swiftly approaching, and the Canada Safety Council (CSC) is on a mission to remind Canadians of their collective responsibility to safeguard the nation’s youth within the school environment.

CSC says bullying is an issue that deeply affects the lives of many Canadian children and their families. According to Public Safety Canada, a staggering 47 percent of parents report that at least one of their children has fallen victim to bullying. This behavior is defined as “acts of intentional harm repeated over time in a relationship where an imbalance of power exists.”

Bullying isn’t confined to the schoolyard alone. It can manifest in various aspects of a child’s life, from the home to the workplace, and anywhere people gather. However, it often first rears its ugly head in the school environment. Given the prevalence of this behavior, it is crucial that schools take the lead in addressing it head-on.

Gareth Jones, the President and CEO of the Canada Safety Council, emphasizes the importance of intervention. He notes that “a bullied child will often feel isolated, unsafe, and alone.” He goes on to state, “As teachers, parents, and guardians, we have a responsibility to show them, not just tell them, that we are in their corner.”

For parents concerned that their child may be experiencing bullying, recognizing the warning signs and advocating on their behalf is vital. Signs can manifest as heightened anxiety, fear, decreased self-esteem, or a loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed. Unhappiness, irritability, and sleep troubles can also be indicators. Physical injuries, such as bruising or damage to property, may occur in cases of physical bullying.

To support your child in a bullying situation, it is crucial to build trust. Maintaining an open and healthy relationship with your child will make them feel comfortable confiding in you. Encourage them to share their experiences, even though it may be embarrassing or hurtful. Swiftly reporting issues is critical, as it allows responsible adults to intervene and provide help.

One CSC piece of advice: do not advise your child to fight back. In such situations, aggression often begets more aggression, exacerbating the problem. Remember, at its core, bullying is a relationship imbalance, and adult intervention is a more effective mitigation tactic.

For documentation, it’s recommended to keep detailed records of incidents, including dates, times, and specific details. In the case of cyberbullying, this includes emails, instant messages, and text messages. Engaging with your child’s school is another critical step. Bring your documentation and be prepared to discuss the bullying behavior. Throughout this process, remember that you are your child’s advocate and defender.

In the effort to prevent bullying, it takes a collective team approach to create a safer environment for all students. Let’s unite in demonstrating that respect, kindness, and dignity are core values, and that bullies never win. National School Safety Week is an opportunity for Canadians to work together to stop bullying in its tracks and protect the future of the nation: its youth.


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