Monthly Archives: January 2012

Parents seek compensation in bullying case

Now we’re talking.

To me, this is where we will start to see real change.  I have mentioned before, that of the two major incidents that our family has had to deal with at our high school, one with each kid, *both* resulted in an arrest of the perpetrator, a trial, a guilty sentence and a penalty imposed.

And in both cases, the perpetrator changed their attitude. Changed the way they behaved.

Consequences matter. Consequences make a kid change, and they make a bully’s family understand the severity of the situation. Nothing like a lawsuit to bring it home for ya.

In what could be a precedent-setting case, the parents of a 14-year-old girl have filed a civil suit over alleged classroom bullying. They are seeking $215,000 in damages from another teenager.

The full article can be found here.

Truly,

Steve

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No Name Calling Week

Did you know it was “No Name Calling Week”?

I didn’t.

And here is a link to check out.

Truly,

Steve

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What is New Brunswick doing?

It’s interesting to look at how other provinces are dealing with the evolution of school boards.  On a fundamental level, it’s of note that New Brunswick has a Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development; this seems a little more focused than our own Minister of Education, Sports & Leisure.

Read about how they are reducing administrative costs and developing greater parental roles in governance by clicking here.

Truly,

Steve

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Great teachers are valuable

The New York Times has a very interesting look at the macro-economic impact of great teachers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/06/education/big-study-links-good-teachers-to-lasting-gain.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha23

Elementary- and middle-school teachers who help raise their students’ standardized-test scores seem to have a wide-ranging, lasting positive effect on those students’ lives beyond academics, including lower teenage-pregnancy rates and greater college matriculation and adult earnings, according to a new study that tracked 2.5 million students over 20 years.

It’s a good read and it points yet again to the real value of recruiting, training and retaining the very best we can find.

Truly,

Steve

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Interview with Marjorie’s mother.

Yesterday I happened on to CJAD and listened to a rerun of the interview Kim Fraser did with Marjorie Raymond’s mum several weeks ago.

Read Kim’s post here.

The audio interview itself is in French.  It is impossible to listen to and not be affected.

Her Mother is not looking for anything more than for her daughter’s suicide to not be in vain.  Don’t we owe her at least that?

Truly,

Steve

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Bullying

By now, I suspect that most if not all of the readers of this blog have read in depth about the suicide death of Quebec bullying victim Marjorie Raymond.

It’s been four years since I campaigned and won a seat on our council of commissioners, with bullying being one of my top stated priorities.

With my own children in the school board, I knew that bullying was something that went on every day in our schools.  It’s of interest that when I first drove focus to the issue at council, one of our commissioners actually questioned if bullying really was a problem in our schools, because he didn’t think it was. Wow – it has been and continues to be a long road indeed.

So what is the problem? Do we need better rules?  Codes of conduct? Better policy?

If you read our existing codes of conduct, you would say no.  The expectations are very clear and in fact, were these codes of conduct to be enforced to the letter, we would at least minimize and at best eradicate the bulk of all bullying in our schools.

So – we don’t need to worry about rules, or codes of conduct.

Do we need better policy? When I first recognized the depth of the detachment from reality that some of our politicians suffered from, I decided to work on a framework, or a definition of what our expectations were as a school board as regards respect and responsibility.  It took more than a year, but that framework finally became policy.  It is posted in every school lobby in our board.  And it too looks good on paper.

So we have codes of conduct. We have policy. And yet, virtually every school day I hear of dirty, disgusting and entirely abusive acts witnessed at our schools.

So what to do? I have tried to get standardized reporting of bullying incidents in our schools. We have in fact begun to survey our student population and the first board wide results should be examined by commissioners shortly.

But in the mean time, we actually have kids killing themselves because they see no way out.

So we’re obviously not doing enough.  And it’s not moving near fast enough.

If we want to take this bull by the horns, the first step we need to take is real enforcement of the rules that we have in place. We say bullying in any form will not be tolerated.  So – why are we tolerating it?

For some reason, school boards seem to feel that they are wholly responsible for educating every single student in our system. Regardless of their behaviour. Personally, I believe that if a student cannot bring himself to behave and where we have exhausted all of our means to socialize that student? Sorry, then he goes to the next level – provincial social services, outside of our schools and perhaps offered online schooling.

But to leave that student in amongst the rest of our population and allow him the continued opportunity to abuse them and distract them from their own education? Where is the sense in that? The education act requires us to provide an education for all students. It does not specify the format of that education nor does it require us to keep the wolves in the sheep pen.

Bullying is a societal problem, and school boards cannot handle it alone. There are many cases where social services should take over. The bully should be removed from the school and his issues dealt with by social services. The attempted education of the bully cannot be allowed to supersede the education of the rest of our students, let alone to take priority over the real life safety of our kids.

Until we accept these facts, we won’t succeed in dealing with the problem.

Truly,

Steve

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Nova Scotia education ministry takes over school board.

After watching yet another entirely dysfunctional council meeting at the EMSB from December 21st, you have to wonder if we may not see something similar happen here.

Minister Moves to Take Control of South Shore Regional School Board

At the same time, a number of the Scotia issues seem to apply to many of our school boards.

As the new year begins, I see enormous potential in where Quebec could go in education. How we could become leaders not just in Canada but around the world.

But at the same time, I fear that being so mired in petty politics at every level, even though we have that potential, politics may kill it yet again.

Truly,

Steve

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