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For Educators

What is Bullying?

Yukon’s territorial legislation defines bullying as a pattern of repeated aggressive behaviour, with negative intent, directed from one person to another, or from one group to another. In many cases bullying occurs when there is a power imbalance. Repeated bullying behaviors can take many forms and are not limited to; physical (e.g. pushing, tripping), verbal (e.g. name calling, put-downs), social (e.g. social isolation, gossip), intimidation (extortion, defacing property or clothing) or cyberbullying (threats or harmful and demeaning text messages, photos or videos distributed or published to the internet).

Bullying and the Yukon Law

In Yukon, Policy 1011 The Safe and Caring Schools Policy is in place to address bullying. The policy was revised in 2008 and is a commitment of the school community to plan, strategize and create a respectful, safe and nurturing educational environment for everyone.

Under the policy, cyberbullying is specified as: “threats or harmful and demeaning text messages, photos or videos distributed or published to the internet”.

Legal Requirements for Private Schools in the Yukon

Under the Yukon Education Act [PDF], “school” is defined as a body of students organized as a unit for educational purposes under the jurisdiction of the Minister or a School Board; the word “public” does not appear in the definition. The legislation also provides that a school is entitled to be registered or accredited as a private school if the operator of the school applies to the Minister, meaning that the same responsibilities Yukon 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:

  • You are expected to teach positive ways to problem solve, and to help develop the social and emotional potential of all students, to the extent of their abilities.

At the School Board Level:

The school administrators, in consultation with their school communities, are responsible for developing a school-based policy that includes practices dealing with bullying and harassment. The policy is to be reviewed and evaluated on a regular basis to build a safe and caring school.

At the Ministry Level:

The Department of Education is required to provide schools with the resources in order to implement the policy –these resources should include trained departmental staff and professional development for the administrator, teachers, and other school personnel.

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:

At the Classroom/School Level:

  • You are expected to respond with a clear message conveying that bullying will not be tolerated.
  • You are expected to listen, investigate, offer support and determine an appropriate course of action in response to bullying incidents.
  • You are responsible for keeping a record of a description of the incident including any actions taken in response to the bullying incident.
  • You are expected to put forth continuous efforts to address the situation involving the bullying incident until the situation is resolved.
  • You are responsible for informing the parents or legal guardians of the bullying incident and how it is being handled by the school staff, conditional upon the school administrator’s discretion.
  • You are responsible for informing the parents or legal guardians of a written action plan in response to the bullying incident when necessary.

At the School Board Level:

  • The school board is responsible for ensuring the procedures for suspension – as a consequence of engaging in bullying behaviours – will follow the school rules and the Education Act, and that serious cases will be discussed with the Superintendent.

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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