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For Educators

What is Bullying?

Manitoba’ s provincial legislation does not define bullying. Bullying is generally recognized as: repeated aggressive behaviour in a relationship in which the person bullying has more power than the person who is bullied. Bullying can take many forms: verbal, physical, social, or electronic (cyberbullying). It can focus on: disability; sexual orientation; gender identity; sexuality; race/ethnicity/religion; or other issues.

Manitoba’s Public Schools Act defines cyberbullying as: the use of the Internet or other communication technologies, including email or text messages, to support deliberate, repeated, hostile behaviour by an individual or group that is intended to harm someone else.

Bullying and the Manitoba Law

In Manitoba, there is a formal legislation on bullying, the Safe School Section 47.1 of the Public Schools Act . Last updated in 2012, the legislation states that schools in the province should establish a Code of Conduct that deals with, among other issues, bullying prevention and response. The law pertains to all incidents of bullying that affect the school’s learning climate, those that happen in any school setting or activity. While the role of parents is not explicit under the Act, parents/guardians should be supportive of the school’s Code of Conduct and expect it to be enforced.

Legal Requirements for Private Schools in Manitoba

The Public Schools Act in Manitoba defines “school” as a public school, however, it also states that the Minister may make grants to a private school if specific conditions are met. Section 60(5) of the Act suggests that private schools in Manitoba are not exempt from regulation by the Minister and so the same responsibilities that public schools owe to maintain a safe and inclusive environment also apply to private schools.

Bullying Prevention

Educators share responsibility with parents and other adults in students’ lives to nurture the development of the social emotional skills that students need to engage in healthy relationships, and to teach students that bullying is wrong and unacceptable. 

This is what is expected of you as an educator:

At the Classroom/School Level:

  • The principal of each school is required to establish a Code of Conduct for students and school staff and an emergency response plan for the school, which are to be reviewed at least annually.
  • All employees of a school board and/or a person caring for one or more students during the prescribed school approved activity are required to report bullying behaviours to the school principals as soon as reasonably possible.
  • The school principal is responsible for notifying the parents or legal guardians, as soon as reasonably possible, if their child has been harmed as a result of the unacceptable conduct.

At the Ministry Level:

  • The Ministry may develop clear procedures and regulations for reporting unacceptable conduct to the principal and to the parents.

When a bullying situation occurs

If a student discloses, or if you as an educator have witnessed that a student has been bullied at school, or if you hear about it from school personnel or someone else, these are your responsibilities as an educator:

This is what is expected of you as an educator:

At the Classroom/School Level:

  • All employees of a school board and/or a person caring for one or more students during the prescribed school approved activity are required to report bullying behaviours to the school principals as soon as reasonably possible.
  • The school principal is responsible for notifying parents or legal guardians of the students who was bullied:
  1. the nature of the bullying incidence that resulted in harm to their child;
  2. the nature of the harm;
  3. the steps taken to protect the child’s safety, including the nature of any disciplinary measure taken in response to the bullying behaviour.
  • The school principal is expected to communicate with parents or legal guardians that the name of, or any other identifying/personal information about the child who bullied, is not to be disclosed to the parents or legal guardians of the child who was victimized by the bullying incidences.

And finally,

Remember to consider your own behaviour, despite any disagreements or hostility you may encounter. Children and youth closely watch what the adults in their life do and are influenced as much by your actions as your words.  When students see you being respectful and empathic towards others, even when you disagree, they are more likely to behave the same way.

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