This policy provides information on how to respond to incidents of bullying at Century High School, or whilst the victims are under the jurisdiction of the school. The policy therefore covers bullying behaviors that occur on the school premises, such as in the lunch rooms, classrooms, hallways, or bathrooms, and also at any time an individual can be considered a part of the school community, and so includes the patio, during a fire drill, or at any field trip location.
Certain ‘bullying’ behaviors may be offences under the Criminal Code of Canada, and as such are punishable under Canadian law.
For the purposes of this policy, bullying behavior is defined as a pattern of repeated aggressive behavior, with negative intent, directed from one person to another where there is a power imbalance. It includes verbal, emotional and physical aggression, and includes any behavior that is unasked for, and unwelcome. There are three critical conditions that distinguish bullying from other forms of aggressive behavior including:
- Power: involves a power imbalance. Individuals who bully acquire their power through physical size and strength, including status within the peer group, and/or by recruiting support of the peer group.
- Frequency: is repeated over time. Bullying is characterized by frequent and repeated attacks. It is this factor that brings about the anticipatory terror in the mind of the person being bullied that can be so detrimental and can have the most debilitating long-term effects.
- Intent to harm: is intended to hurt. Individuals who bully generally do so with the intent to either physically or emotionally harm the other person.
Cyber bullying: bullying behavior which is carried out through an internet service such as email, chat rooms, blog, discussion group or instant messaging. It can also include bullying through mobile phone technologies and new internet technologies in the future.
Harassment: any unwelcome or unwanted act or comment that is hurtful, degrading, humiliating, or offensive to another person is an act of harassment. Of particular concern is such behavior that persists after the aggressor has been asked to stop.
Intimidation: Intimidation is the act of instilling fear in someone as a means of controlling that person.
The following gives examples of bullying types of behavior:
- Any kind of unwanted and repeated communication or any kind of remark that undermines another’s self-respect. The communication can take place face-to-face, within hearing range, over the phone, in written communications, and even via Internet chat rooms.
- Spreading malicious rumors, gossiping, name-calling, taunting, insults, put-downs, unwanted sarcasm, “dirty” looks, and condescending remarks, unwanted teasing, or unwanted jokes.
- Racial slurs, religious slurs, or taunts about a person’s looks, behavior, attire, age, economic status, ethnic origin, country of origin, or sexual orientation.
- Unwanted sexually suggestive remarks, sexually abusive remarks, or sexually threatening behavior.
- Physical aggression, such as slapping, hitting, choking, kicking, poking, punching, or unwanted touching, or threats of violence that instill fear.
- Defacing or damaging school property, or another person’s belongings.
- The use of any instrument either as a weapon, or to threaten to do harm.
- Bringing onto the school premises a gun, or other illegal weapon, or any instrument that could be used as a weapon, or to threaten to do harm.
- Emotional bullying, such as ignoring, shunning, excluding, or isolating the victim, or consistently impacting others with sudden outbursts of rage, or loud shouts or yelling, with an intention to agitate others.
- Daring or coercing another individual to do something that could cause harm to themselves, or to another, or extortion (demanding money or goods in exchange for the victim’s safety).
- Setting up the victim to take the blame for an offence.
How to Respond to a Bullying Incident
Call 9-1-1 or your local police if any person is in immediate danger, or if a criminal offence has been or is likely to be committed.
Criminal offences include, but are not limited to:
- physical or sexual assault.
- possession of an illegal weapon, such as a gun.
- possession, or use, of any instrument, with the intent to use as a weapon, or to threaten to use as a weapon.
1. Responding at the Scene of the Incident
The following procedures are suggested as appropriate responses to be followed in the event of a bullying incident:
1.1 Victims of bullying behavior, whenever possible, should immediately contact the nearest teacher or office staff member and inform them as to the nature of the bullying incident.
1.2 Any individual who witnesses a bullying incident taking place should immediately contact the nearest teacher or office staff member and inform them of the nature, and location, of the bullying incident.
1.3 A teacher who has been informed of a bullying incident should contact an office staff member before progressing to the scene to provide intervention assistance.
1.4 For non-physical aggression, an office staff member may provide intervention strategies suggested in (2) and (3) below.
1.5 For bullying incidents involving physical aggression, a staff member should first inform another staff member to request assistance, and then immediately go to the scene of the incident, where the staff members should intervene quickly and calmly to separate the parties involved. The “intervention” may include ordering them to stop fighting or separating them with force.
1.6 However, if the fight becomes too violent to separate, or it involves weapons, staff members should try to refrain from intervening physically, but to call the police immediately.
1.7 After the parties are separated, the staff members should then apply intervention strategies as given in (2) and (3) below.
1.8 Following the incident, the staff member should initiate a Bullying Incident Report, and locate witnesses, if possible.
2. Response to Victim
2.1 Acknowledge the incident and provide reassurance.
2.2 Ensure that the victim is safe, or sent to a safe location.
2.3 Collect a statement from the victim.
2.4 Contact the parents/guardians if the victim is a student under 19 years.
2.5 Depending on seriousness, contact a Child & Youth Counselor, or contact the police at 911.
During working hours (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm) call:
• The local Ministry of Children and Family Development office – listed in the blue pages of the phone book or online at www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/regions/regional_offices.htm .
• Call Enquiry BC – Vancouver. Tel: 604 660-2421 for a local Ministry of Children and Family Development office nearest you.
• The closest office of the Ministry of Children and Family Development is located at 11th floor, 1177 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC, V6H 1G3. Tel: 604 660-5437.
3. Response to Aggressor
3.1 Remind the aggressor of this policy and describe the bullying behavior.
3.2 Point out impact of action on others.
3.3 Collect a statement from the aggressor.
3.4 Contact the parents/guardians if the aggressor is a student under 19 years.
3.5 Depending on seriousness, contact a Child & Youth Counselor, or contact the police.
3.6 Send the aggressor to the Vice Principal, or the teacher in charge of student discipline, who will investigate and impose school penalties as applicable.
3.7 Individuals found guilty of bullying have the right to appeal the charge to the Principal within 10 days of the incident.
Penalties for Aggressor who is a CENTURY Student
Penalties for bullying behavior depend on whether it is a first, or further bullying offence.
1. First offence
1.1 A verbal warning to the student from the Vice Principal, or the teacher in charge of student discipline.
1.2 A Bullying Incident Report is filed in the permanent student records.
1.3 The student will be informed of penalties should further offences occur.
2. Second offence
2.1 A warning letter to student from the Vice Principal, or the teacher in charge of student discipline, to be placed on the student’s file.
2.2 The letter will contain a reminder of possible suspension or expulsion for a further offence.
2.3 A Bullying Incident Report is filed in the permanent student records.
2.4 For a student who is less than 19 years of age, the parents/guardian will receive a copy of the letter.
2.5 At the discretion of the Vice Principal, or the teacher in charge of student discipline, the student will be suspended from the school for a period of 3 to 5 days.
3. Third offence
3.1 A written notification from the Vice Principal, or the teacher in charge of student discipline, placed on the student’s file, informing the student that this is a third offence and stringent penalties will be imposed.
3.2 Depending on the seriousness, the student will be either suspended for the following semester, or expelled from the school immediately, or expelled from the school for the following semester, at the discretion of the Vice Principal, or the teacher in charge of student discipline.
4. Criminal Offence
Regardless whether the offence is a first, second or third one, if the incident is defined as a criminal offence by the police and the aggressor is going to be charged for it, CENTURY will follow the suggestions of the police, whichever penalties or suspension the police may impose on the student.
The Vice Principal, or the teacher in charge of student discipline, may at his/her own discretion, order certain individuals to be banned from entering the school premises in order to prevent further possible incidents from happening.
CENTURY has developed an anti-bullying program to help prevent and reduce incidents of bullying, and thereby increase safety for all. The program has two main components, education and monitoring.
1. Bullying behavior – how to recognize and respond to such behavior, and the content of this policy – will be incorporated, as deemed applicable, as part of the content for the following courses: Health and Career Education 8 and 9, Planning 10, Social Studies 10 and 11, and Communications 11 and 12.
2. An educational seminar on bullying behavior will be conducted by the Principal at the start of every semester.
3. Students will be informed of the existence of this school policy, and given an overview of its contents and examples of bullying behavior, at the school orientation
4. A Liaison Officer from the Vancouver Police Department will be invited to present an educational seminar on bullying, at least once for every semester.
Being vigilant for the signs of potential bullying behavior can go a long way to prevent an incident before it occurs. All members of the school community, students, teachers, and administrative staff, should be encouraged to intervene if they witness bullying. Some strategies for monitoring include:
1. Staff members and teachers take turn to patrol the school premises during class breaks and lunch time to watch for potential signs of conflict.
2. Teachers should monitor their students in the classrooms for potential signs of conflict, and advise the Principal of any concerns immediately.
3. Students should advise their advisors should they have concerns that a bullying incident could occur. The students should be reassured that all observations of this nature will be held in confidence. The advisors will advise the Principal of any such notifications, who will determine if any follow-up actions by the school are necessary.
Maintenance of order
1. A student or a person outside of the school community may not disturb or interrupt the proceedings of a school or an official function;
2. If he/she is directed to leave the school premises by the Principal, he/she must leave the school premises immediately.
3. He/she must not enter the school premises again except with prior approval from the Principal.
4. A person who contravenes (2) or (3) commits an offence.
5. The Principal may, in order to restore order on school premises, require adequate assistance from the building manager, care-taker, or even police.
Safe, Caring and Orderly Schools – A Guide, BC Ministry of Education, 2004, Updated Nov 2008.
Keeping Kids Safe From Bullying, Harassment & Intimidation, BC 2008.
Focus on Harassment and Intimidation, Responding to Bullying in Secondary School Communities. BC Ministry of Education. 2001.