Police and schools continue to battle bullying and and harassing behaviorFriday, April 19, 2013 by: Kate AdamsNorth Bay Police Service
The North Bay Police Service, in cooperation with the four regional School Boards and Nipissing University, has recently completed a School Safety Survey. The purpose was to review and assess the current and past police/school relationship to determine meaningful directions and effective solutions for any identified issues.
The project was initiated by the North Bay Police Service, in consultation with the Near North District School Board, the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board, the Conseil Scolaire Catholique Franco-Nord and the Conseil Scolaire Public du Nord-Est de l'Ontario and developed and administered by Dr. Greg Brown of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Nipissing University.
School safety questionnaires were presented to area students and teachers from Grades 7 to 12 in both official languages during the 2012 school year.
The questions related to the studentsâ€™ and teachersâ€™ knowledge and experiences in the school environment on a wide variety of school and community issues, including violence, property crime, drug and alcohol abuse as well as bullying and harassment, including the role of social media.
A significant number of students indicated that they had experienced at least one type of bullying and harassing behavior, ranging from teasing to physical aggression and threatening during the school year. A smaller number reported cyber-bullying. However, over 99% of students and educators reported that generally their schools are safe places in which to learn and work.
The report identified the importance of continuing and developing effective working relationships amongst police, educators and other community stakeholders to identify best practices, particularly as they relate to bullying and harassing behavior. The reportâ€™s recommendations include the enhancement of the School Liaison Program and police and the school officials are committed to exploring the best options to achieve the identified goals.
The North Bay Police Service has a long successful working relationship with the North Bay and area school system. A School Liaison Program has been in place for over ten years and provides the entry point for a variety of police/school initiatives, from education to enforcement.
As well, the DARE Program, a youth drug awareness education initiative, has proven very effective over a similar period of time. Police and other community justice partners have also developed the Youth Justice Committee, a successful pre-charge diversion program designed to deal with youth criminal behavior at an early age. More recently, the North Bay Police Service and area School Boards have formed Youth Advisory Committees to facilitate understanding and communication between law enforcement and students.
On April 24, 2013, members of the North Bay Police Service will participate in an Anti-Bullying Summit, bringing community partners together to further highlight this very important social issue.