• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn

For Parents

What is Bullying?

New Brunswick’s provincial legislation does not explicitly defines bullying or cyberbullying.

However in its annual report, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development makes reference to a common definition of bullying: bullying is a learned behaviour intended to cause or should be known to cause fear, intimidation, humiliation or other harm to an individual or a group of individuals. There is a power imbalance, real or perceived, between the persons involved that affects the relationships within the positive learning environment of the school. It has a high likelihood of being repeated or has occurred multiple times. Bullying can take many forms, including physical, verbal and non-verbal, social, or electronic (cyber). It also includes assisting or encouraging the behaviour in any way.

Bullying and the New Brunswick Law

In New Brunswick, Policy 703: Positive Learning and Working Environment, revised in 2013, states the rights and responsibilities of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, school districts, and schools for creating a positive learning and working environment in the public education system. The policy pertains to all incidents of bullying and cyberbullying that affect the school’s learning climate, whether it’s on or off school property (i.e. on the school bus), face-to-face or electronic, and apply to all participants in the public school system.

The Education Act was amended in 2012. The amendments include, among other things, the development and implementation of a positive learning and working environment plan, which addresses bullying and cyberbullying, and mandated reporting from school principals to superintendents of bullying and cyberbullying incidents.

For more details on cyberbullying legislation, including federal legislation, please visit: Legal Consequences of Cyberbullying 

Legal Requirements for Private Schools in New Brunswick

Under The Education Act, private schools in New Brunswick are not included in the definition of “school”. There is no formal legislation that deals specifically with private or independent schools, nor any requirement that private schools adhere to the anti-bullying provisions of public schools.

Bullying and Cyberbullying Prevention

Parents/guardians have a responsibility to work with the adults in their child’s life (teachers, school principals, coaches, and group leaders) so that together, they can teach students that bullying and cyberbullying are wrong and unacceptable. Public schools, school districts, school bus personnel, organizers of school sponsored events, and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development are all responsible for creating a safe, orderly, productive and inclusive environment where everyone is treated with respect.

This is what is expected of parents, under the current legislation:

  • Students’ social skills, self-discipline, empathy, compassion and ethics are learned through life, and you are to play a role in transmitting these values to students through instruction and by example.
  • In order to foster positive learning and working environments in schools, the District Positive Learning and Working Environment Plan requires you and other visitors to refrain from inappropriate behaviours when interacting with school personnel.
  • You are expected to understand that if some students with exceptionalities behave in challenging ways that are beyond the students’ control or understanding, such students may not be subject to the typical consequences established by the school.

These are your rights as a parent under the current legislation:

At the Classroom/School Level:

  • You have the right to remind the school that every student in the public school system is entitled to work and learn in a safe, orderly, productive, respectful and harassment-free environment.
  • You have the right to expect that the school principal prepares a District Positive Learning and Working Environment Plan that includes the following:
  1. clear roles and responsibilities for staff, students, parents and volunteers;
  2. a School Code of Conduct;
  3. consequences for inappropriate behaviours exhibited by anyone in the school environment;
  4. direction for managing disruptive behaviours that are minor in nature, but frequent, or substantial and persistent; and
  5. strategies aimed at preventing and resolving misunderstandings or disagreements between school personnel and parents.
  • You have the right to expect the school principal to implement the District Positive Learning and Working Environment Plan in collaboration with students, teachers, and parents, and to annually report the results to their superintendents of their school district, and to be responsible for their school’s overall effectiveness in developing and implementing the plan.

At the School Board Level:

  • You have the right to ask the superintendents of your school district to assist in the development of the District Positive Learning and Working Environment Plan – to foster positive learning and working environments in schools, and to manage inappropriate behaviours by students.
  • You have the right to ask your the school districts to provide support to your  school’s District Positive Learning and Working Environment Plan through various means, including dissemination of resource materials and development of provincial and district protocols.

At the Ministry Level:

  • You have the right to ask for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to provide support to your school’s District Positive Learning and Working Environment Plan through various means, including resource materials and development of provincial and district protocols.
  • You have the right to receive the annual report on bullying in the New Brunswick public education system by the Minister, which shall be provided before the Legislative Assembly during the course of the regular session of the Legislature that follows the year for which the report is made.

Your Child has been Victimized by Bullying or Cyberbullying

If your child confides that he or she has been bullied or cyberbullied at school, or if you hear about if from school personnel or someone else, your rights as a parent under the current legislation are:

At the Classroom/School Level:

  • You have the right to expect that the school principal to report the bullying and/or cyberbullying incident to the superintendent of the school districts – including bullying or cyberbullying incidents that happen outside of school hours and off school property to the extent they affect the school climate.
  • You have the right to expect that a student whose bullying or cyberbullying behaviours poses an immediate threat to the safety of other students to be subject to immediate risk reducing interventions, and potentially alternative educational arrangements – if deemed necessary and approved by the Superintendent or the Director of Education.
  • You have the right to expect school personnel to make you aware of problems involving your child and to encourage your involvement in the development of an intervention plan, as appropriate.
  • You have the right to expect that teachers and other staff, such as bus drivers, keep an accurate, written record of: notable incidents of bullying or cyberbullying behaviours; the manner in which incidents are handled; and subsequent interventions and progress.
  • You have the right to ask that any information concerning the support received by a student is provided to any person who works with the student so that help can be delivered effectively.
  • You have the right to expect that if inappropriate behaviours exhibited by students with exceptionalities are clearly not related to their exceptionalities, such students may be subject to the typical consequences established by the school.

At the School Board Level:

 

  • You have the right to ask the District Education Councils to make information on the number of reported bullying and cyberbullying incidents available to parents/guardians annually.
  • You have the right to expect that the Superintendents ensure that all school personnel are provided with adequate training, as appropriate for their responsibilities, to recognize signs that a student is in difficulty – with caution not to stereotype students.

At the Ministry Level:

  • You have the right to ask the Ministry to make information about the number of reported bullying and cyberbullying incidents available annually to parents.

Students who are being bullied or cyberbullied often do not want their parents/guardians to report it to the school out of fear or shame, but teachers and administration need to know about the bullying in order to stop it. Work with your child to determine which adults he or she trusts and feels most comfortable with, so that these adults can be involved in the solution.

Remember: approach the school in a calm, supportive manner despite the painful feelings of anger and worry you may feel. It is your job to protect your child, but it is the school’s role to maintain a safe learning environment for all students. It is the school’s responsibility to determine appropriate responses and consequences for the student who bullied and to maintain students’ privacy. Stay focused on solving the problem – preventing further incidents and enabling your child to feel safe and supported.

Your Child has Bullied or Cyberbullied

If you find out that your child has bullied or cyberbullied at school, either through hearing about it from school personnel, your child, or someone else, your rights as a parent under the current legislation are:

At the Classroom/School Level:

  • You have the right to be invited to the case conference at which alternative educational arrangements for your child will be determined and approved.
  • You have the right to expect that any discipline will be corrective, aimed at helping your child learn appropriate, self-regulatory, productive behaviours in support of the maintenance of a positive learning and working environment.
  • You have the right to be informed of problems involving your child by school personnel and to be encouraged to take part in the development of an intervention plan.
  • You have the right to expect that other personnel who work with your child will receive information concerning the monitoring and support your child needs to ensure there is no more bullying behaviour.
  • If your child has exceptionalities and behave in challenging ways that are beyond his or her control or understanding, you have the right to expect that your child may not be subject to the typical consequences established by the school.
  • However, if the inappropriate behaviours exhibited by your child are clearly not related to his or her exceptionalities, then your child may be subject to the typical consequences established by the school.
  • You have the right to know that if your child is identified to be a potential risk to him/herself, to others, or to school property, the nature of this risk will be communicated as soon as possible, on a need-to-know basis, to those who work with the student.

This is what is expected of parents, under the current legislation:

 

  • You are expected to understand that a student whose bullying behaviour poses an immediate threat to the safety of other students, or to him/herself, may be removed from school property, and will be permitted to return to school following an assessment of safety – using the Violent Threat and Risk Assessment Protocols.
  • You are expected to support the agreed upon plan of intervention for these students, and be informed of the constraints on the education system in providing services to these students and the consequences for these students’ progress and development if parental support is not given.
  • Please note that in extreme cases where parental support is not forthcoming, the superintendent can make a referral to the Department of Social Development where an investigation may follow under the Family Services Act.

Action Plan for parents whose child is being bullied or cyberbullied, or has bullied or cyberbullied others

  1. Give yourself time to process your emotions. Learning that your child was bullied or cyberbullied – or bullied or cyberbullied someone else – can be very painful. Listen carefully to the information and if necessary, say you need some time to come to terms with the information before moving forward.
  2. Respond caringly to your child. Take reports of bullying and cyberbullying seriously. Always recognize your child’s courage in reporting or talking about the bullying. Explain to your child that it is your responsibility to help solve the problem and stop the bullying or cyberbullying, and this includes reporting the bullying to the school and working cooperatively with the school.  Reassure the student who was bullied that he or she has the right to be safe, to be protected by adults at school, and to be treated with respect by everyone. Help the student who bullied understand these rights. Emphasize his or her responsibility to treat others with respect.
  3. Visit www.prevnet.ca to gather more information about bullying and cyberbullying.
  4.  Before meeting with school personnel to create a safety plan for your child, or a positive response plan if your child has bullied or cyberbullied, set short and long-term goals. It is important to identify what you are trying to accomplish and to know what to expect from the school based on the school's rights and responsibilities under the legislation.
  5. Follow up and monitor how the plan is working. Check in regularly with your child and with the school to ensure that the problem is being addressed and that there have not been any more incidents. Initially check in daily, and then gradually reduce the check-ins to every few days, every week, etc. Often it is necessary to monitor for several months.
  6. From the first time you become aware of the situation, keep an ongoing record of what happened, when it happened, what was done, and whether the plan of action was effective in stopping the bullying.

Remember, you are a role model for your children. Children watch what their parents do very closely, and are influenced by your actions as well as your words. If your children see you communicating respectfully and remaining constructive in the face of disagreements with others, they are more likely to behave the same way. 

 

© 2018 PREVNet. All Rights Reserved.