After almost two years of work, the provincial government has revealed its three-year action plan to prevent bullying and cyberbullying.
Education Minister Ramona Jennex spoke to staff and students at Dartmouth High School about the plan called “Speak Up,” which aims to get at the roots of bullying. The action plan has more than 40 different ways of taking down bullying that happens in schools. Teachers and staff will be trained on how to recognize and work with mental health issues, resources will be expanded, and schools will partner with police, health-care providers, government and cell phone companies.
Jennex says they will not ban cell phones from schools.
“We need to teach our children how to use cell phones and the appropriate use,” says Jennex. “And schools have their own rules around cell phones. So that’s not in the action plan, but part of the action is to make sure that we’ve responded to the appropriate use of technology in our curriculum.”
If a teen is bullied on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter outside of school, it’s outside the Departent’s jurisdiction to take action. ”But if it’s something that’s affecting behaviour, how a person feels at school, if a child feels unsafe it becomes part of what we can respond to at school.” adds Jennex.
The three year plan also includes an annual conference on bullying. If you’re signing up for a new cell phone contract, information on how to responsibly use the phone will be handed to you as well.
An anti-bullying website will also be created. You can read the plan at www.ednet.ns.ca