Forest Hill Collegiate Institute Toronto District School Board
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"Anti-Bullying Week" Events at FHCI
Submitted Submitted by Aneta Costin on Mon, 11/26/2012 - 08:32

The issue of bullying among young people is an ever-present topic in the media. At Forest Hill, like every other school, we want students to feel part of the school and feel valued for who they are. I am sending you this email to outline the anti-bullying programs that our students were part of this week at FHCI
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November 19 – through – November 23 was dedicated to the topic of Bullying Awareness and Prevention in the TDSB. At FHCI, our School Action Team organized and ran a variety of programs during this week. There have been:  announcements about bullying and bullying prevention; an opportunity for students to come to the foyer during the lunch hour to sign a pledge to stand up against bullying;  two special presentations that addressed the issues of bullying, the bullied and the bystander and what each can do to stop bullying from occurring.
 
All Grade 9 students had the opportunity to see Showdown 2.0, an interactive theatre performance that tackled the issue of bullying as well as the influence of technology on bullying.  Once the performance was over, the actors deconstructed various scenarios in the play with the group.  Students were asked to share their thoughts on other options the characters in the play could have explored that would have led to a more positive outcome.  Student volunteers were then able to implement these options by taking on the role of one character and re-enacting a specific scene with the remaining actors.  This interactive experience generated an honest, positive discussion on what options were available to students if they became victims of bullying or were witness to someone else being bullied.
 
The Grade 10 – through- Grade 12 students went to a separate presentation by Scott Mills from the Toronto Police Services on cyber-bullying. This presentation focused on issues surrounding the use of  social media. A broad discussion occurred with the students about being smart about what they put out for public viewing in social media as it then becomes accessible for anyone who wishes to access the information. It was explained that not putting content on social media that could be embarrassing or could cause teasing will reduce the opportunities for potential bullies to target an individual. It was explained that companies now do background checks of prospective employees on social media, so it is important not to put anything on social media that might result in  a company choosing not to give you a position.
 
 
This led into a discussion about student awareness of the parameters that they can put in effect on the social media sights they use through privacy restrictions. This was linked directly to how individual students can restrict access to their profiles on sites like Facebook for those who are looking to bully. PC Mills extended the discussion with the assembled group of 600 students to include a discussion about being responsible for one’s friends. His message was that if you see a friend about to do something that will open them up to being bullied on social media or being a bully on social media then don’t be a bystander. He suggested that the one-to-one interactions between friends can prevent or solve many of the issues surrounding bullying. To conclude PC Mills provided a list of resources to access if one is being bullied – ie: a responsible adult that they trust, Parents, Teachers, Guidance Counsellors, Administrators, Kids Helpphone, and the Toronto Police. This interactive assembly allowed students to share their knowledge and gain new information to support the efforts of all of us to stop the bullying.
 
Our conclusion of our week of events will actually take place on Monday, where the School Action Team, will be distributing “gel bracelets” that say Stop the Bullying as part of their fundraising campaign to support the Kids Helpphone in the work they do with youth and teens around the issue of bullying.
 
Please take some time this weekend to cement the messages that your child heard in this week’s anti-bullying activities. If you wish to discuss this with me further, please let me know.
 
Peggy Aitchison
Principal
Forest Hill Collegiate Institute

 

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