School district outlines strategy on bullying

  • Sep. 4, 2013 4:33 p.m.

Bullying is a problem in every community, and Red Deer is no different.

The school districts, however, have changed the way they look at bullying and the way they try to deal with the problem.

“In the good old days we did programs about bullies and would talk about what a bully is and how to identify a bully, but they just didn’t work,” said Stu Henry, deputy superintendent with Red Deer Public Schools.

Henry said there has been a noticeable shift in the last five to six years towards focusing on the opposite of bullying. The focus now is an emphasis on positive behaviour.

“We want to create a caring environment and we have been teaching the students how to collaborate with others and disagree appropriately,” said Henry.

He said there has been a great response to the new way of thinking. Added to this way of thinking is an emphasis on resiliency and teaching the students to overcome adversity.

“A student will say they are being bullied but they’re really not, it’s just the way they hear things being said or the tone in which someone says something.”

One thing Henry made clear was that bullying will never go away completely and that nothing anyone does can prevent it from ever happening.

“What’s important is what we do when it is happening. The best thing we can do as parents is just communicate with our kids and talk freely. Then our children will tell us that things are not going well at school,” said Henry.

He made it clear that the schools here in Red Deer are filled with caring staff members as well as councillors and education assistants.

“Somewhere in the life of every child is a trusted adult. When adults are aware of the problem, we can often put an end to it very quickly.”

There isn’t just one thing that students get bullied over, it’s a little bit of everything. Henry also added that it’s the way a student reacts to a comment that affects whether they construe it as bullying or not.

Sadly, Henry said some students never say anything to anyone and are bullied for an extended period of time.

“These students need to know that teachers are more approachable than ever and are so kid-friendly. I can’t imagine why a student or parent wouldn’t take the step to talk to one of them.”

When students are in elementary or middle school, Henry said the teachers try to instruct them on ways to deal with communicating with others and how to talk out a problem. “Depending on the comfort of the child we will either mediate the problem or just coach them in how to talk to the student they deem a bully. A lot of kids don’t want the adult to mediate, they just want to be taught how to communicate better.”

Henry said that with the older students, online bullying has become a whole new category of its own. “That’s another reason why open communication from parent to child is so important. You need to be able to communicate and monitor what your child is up to online. The gloves are off in the online world and what happens at school pales in comparison to what’s online.”

On a positive note, Henry pointed out that incidents of physical aggression are way down from the past numbers.

“If there’s one message for all parents it’s that as your kids get older make sure you keep those communication lines open and communicate daily about important things.”

For more information on bullying, visit www.bullyfreealberta.ca.

kpalardy@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Bruce Buruma enters the UCP nomination race for Red Deer South

Vote for candidate takes place early in the New Year

Rollovers near Ponoka keep crews busy

Wintry road conditions proved a struggle for motorists on the QE2 highway with several incidents

Central Alberta Theatre heads into ‘holiday’ mode with latest offering

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some) open Nov. 17th at the Black Knight Inn

Canada Winter Games upgrades completed at Canyon Ski Resort

Officials say improving the resort makes it a destination for future winter sports competitions

Red Deerian helps Kenyan woman get slushy machine – the first in Northern Kenya

The woman named her store after Red Deer because of all the support

Winter weather hits parts of Canada

As some parts of the country brace for cold, parts of B.C. remain warmer than 10 C

Castor, Forestburg, coal workers get $257,644 to transition to low-carbon economy

Two transition centres will serve seven communities in the Battler River Region

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Saskatchewan college honours memory of Humboldt Broncos coach

Darcy Haugan wore jersey No. 22 when he was a star player with the Briercrest College Clippers

Liberals to act quickly if Saturday midnight deal deadline breached: source

Oh Friday, Canadian Union of Postal Workers said it would not bring the latest offers to a vote of its members

Police probe several allegations of sex assault at Toronto school

Police say they have learned of other incidents of alleged assault and sexual assault

Missing-persons list tops 600 in fire-stricken California

Disaster escalates as officials raised the death toll to 63

VIDEO: The definition of a kilogram has officially changed

50-plus countries voted to a ground-breaking overhaul to the international system of measurements

Most Read