Principal’s Remarks at the School Assembly on Anti-bullying

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Welcome to our assembly to mark the end of a week dedicated to engaging our students and staff with activities and opportunities focusing on the importance of being kind to each other and becoming a school that cares openly about everyone in the building.

It’s wonderful to see a sea of pink out there. Our students wore pink shirts on Wednesday, the official pink shirt day and they wore them again today to culminate a week that has been dedicated to raising awareness about anti-bullying. It is wonderful to see so many community members here today. Thank you for your show of support!

This week of anti bullying awareness is very important to our school because victims of bullying report a loss of interest in school, more absenteeism, lower grades, more skipping classes, and more lates to class.

As a staff, we are looking at a draft policy that is intended to reflect our dedication to learning more about how to prevent bullying and how we will address incidents of bullying that are brought to our attention. If a child in our school is bullied, know that we will address it.

Erin from The Red Cross was in the school all week training a group of high school students, staff, and community members to facilitate workshops and session. The program, Beyond the Hurt, provides youth and adults with the tools to take a stand to stop bullying before it starts. Several staff, students, and community members have been trained to facilitate bullying prevention workshops and to model positive and respectful relationships.

This awareness is important to our school because people who are bullied have lower academic achievement and experience negative feelings about the school environment and their peers are more likely to be involved in bullying.

I need to let you the community know that our school has been the victim of cyber bullying and we need your help to stop these negative acts. When someone emails or posts negative comments about our school, it undermines our efforts to create the kind of school that we know we can be. Please know that staff, including administration is easily reached by phone or in person. The more we can sit down together and come up with ways to address mutual concerns, the healthier our relationships will be between school and community.

Research tells us that kids who have supportive and positive relationships in their lives will do better in school. They will have stronger friendships. They will be more confident, and they will be less likely to engage in bullying behaviours.

In our school it is important to see happy kids who feel safe anywhere in the building. It is important to see a clean and organized school that we can be proud of. It is important to be the school where people stand up and support each other, a school where friends do not allow their friends to bully others.

In our school we want to hear friends sharing ideas and feelings. We want to hear staff and students challenging anyone who uses homophobic, sexist, or other hurtful language. We want to be a school where friendly comments and compliments flow easily through the hallways and classrooms. We want to be the school where kids feel safe, cared for, appreciated, accepted, hopeful, supported, and proud to be who they are.

Parents and community members,  thank you for being here. Thank you for your support- it means a lot. Thank you to those parents who come out to every event at our school. And to those parents and grandparents, who are here for the first time, please know that you are welcome to come in and help to make a difference as we work toward becoming the school that we want to be.

Thank you to Naomi, Vikki, Colleen, Angela, Harrison, and our wonderful students who put this assembly together. If I have forgotten someone, please forgive me – it was not intentional.

Thanks to the wonderful staff and community members who stepped up to be trained in anti-bullying awareness.

And to everyone else, thank you for your commitment to working with us to raise students who are successful and caring and kind to everyone around them. This is the kind of school we want to be.

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