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Safe Schools

"Every person in the Limestone District School Board community has the right to live, learn, work and play in a safe, caring, welcoming environment free from fear."

Human Rights Education - Administrative Procedure AP-214


Bullying harms everyone, and creates fear in the whole school community

What is bullying?

Bullying is repeated or habitual aggressive behaviour, abuse or intimidation of a person where there is an imbalance of power because the person or persons bullying have more power or advantage based on any number of factors such as size, status, age, being part of a group, abilities, or other attributes.

Aggressive behaviour, by itself, and while unacceptable, is not necessarily bullying.

Who are students who bully?

Students who bully may:

• have a history of bullying
• have a need for control and power over others
• enjoy hurting others
• lack empathy and compassion
• be found in all economic, social and racial groups
• tend to have a small, close group of friend to witness and support their behaviour
• often have above average self-esteem
• tend to achieve average or better grades
• also be victimized by bullying
• model their behaviour on bullying behaviour they witness
• be male or female


60% of children who engage in bullying behaviour, on a regular basis, by the time they are 8 years old, have a criminal record by the time they are 24 years old, unless there is intervention.

Who are students who are bullied?

Students who are bullied may:

• be passive, shy, smaller, anxious
• be seen as weak, vulnerable, isolated, “not fitting in”
• be objects of prejudice
• have a disability
• lack social skills; do not know how to make and keep friends
• provoke peers not knowing when to stop
• be seen as a “pest” who deserves “it” by peers and adults alike
• see no effective way to respond
• seem petrified or alternatively wildly emotional
• bully back without success or
• challenge, resist and cope with the bullying successfully using various methods

Students may be bullied for reasons pertaining to:

• age, sex, gender, or sexual orientation
• racial characteristics
• physical and mental attributes and skills
• economic/social class and status

Where a bullying incident occurs, the student being bullied, and the bystander(s):


What are bullying behaviours?

Bullying behaviours, which may be direct or indirect, obvious or secretive, can include a wide range of behaviour such as:

• verbal insults, unfair criticism, name calling
• persuading others to criticize, insult, shun, or assault
• spreading malicious rumours
• anonymous phone calls and e-mails
• threatening or obscene gestures
• menacing stares
• deliberate turning away or averting of one’s gaze to ignore or shun
• physical abuse and/or intimidation
• group intimidation or abuse
• removing, destroying, stealing or hiding belongings
• extortion
• forming coalitions against someone
• taunting (as opposed to playful teasing)

How does the school and Board address bullying?

The first challenge in dealing with bullying is having knowledge that bullying is occurring. Students who bully are often very skilled at hiding their behaviour from adults and intimidating the person being bullied not to report. Likewise, students who are bullied do not report the bullying behaviour to school or parents for a number of reasons, including embarrassment and fear of retaliation.

The school and Board:

• have a wide range of anti-bullying programs and procedures in place
• address bullying (as well as aggressive behaviour in general) in Codes of Behaviour
• have a range of consequences for students who bully including warnings, suspensions, possible expulsion, police involvement and/or counselling
• recognize the role of bystanders
• have support mechanisms in place for students who are bullied
• work with Educational Services and the Human Rights Education Advisor to supplement  Resources and programs
• provide direct support to students and families
• invite parents to be partners in dealing with bullying
• assist families by acting as a liaison with community agencies

What are signs that your child may be bullying at school?

Students who bully may be hard to spot. They have learned to bully when adults are not watching. Some signs to watch for:

• gets into trouble frequently for fighting or harassing
• has trouble concentrating
• is insensitive to feelings of others; laughs and comments on other people’s mistakes or flaws
• comes home with “gifts” from other children
• reacts to disappointments and criticism with extreme anger, blame, threats, or revenge
• is cruel towards pets
• always needs to have his or her own way
• finds ways to needle or embarrass others
• manipulates or instigates conflict between others
• spreads malicious hurtful rumours
• sways group opinion for the sake of being able to do so - e.g., as shunning someone
• may witness frequent bullying behaviour by adult models (e.g., media, sports arenas...)

What are symptoms that your child is being bullied?

While your child may not tell you directly that he or she is being bullied, you might observe the

• an unexplained change in behaviour
• unexplained bruises, scratches or cuts
• missing, torn or damaged clothing or belongings
• unexplained pains, headaches or upset stomach
• fear of walking to or from school; changes routes
• refusal to go to school
• deterioration in school work
• comes home hungry (lunch money taken)
• loses possessions, pocket money
• asks for, or steals money (to pay person who is bullying)
• has fewer and fewer friends; social isolation
• becomes withdrawn
• stammers
• has unexpected mood changes
• experiences irritability and temper outbursts
• appears upset, unhappy, tearful, distressed
• stops eating
• may wet bed, bite nails
• refuses to say what is wrong
• gives unlikely excuses or explanations for any of the above
• attempts suicide
• or other indicators

How can a parent/guardian help?


• Encourage your child to talk about it. This may be difficult as your child may be overwhelmed by feelings of shame, being a “rat” or “tattle-tale” and “Why me? What’s wrong with me?”

• Listen carefully and calmly without interrupting or reacting.

• Help your child to document the bullying. Then get your child’s permission to report it to the school. Assure your child that reporting is done to keep people safe.

• Involve police where appropriate (you may be doing this in conjunction with the school, depending on the nature of the bullying and where and when it occurs).

• Ask the school for its plan to address the bullying, and to protect your child from retaliation.

• Describe as accurately as possible what has been happening to your child.

• Explore and practise non-violent courses of action with your child, e.g., be more assertive, make friends who can help, or speak with a teacher or counsellor.

• Remind your child that revenge is never the answer. Revenge may escalate the severity of the next attack.


• Be over-protective. Help work to provide your child with strategies to deal with bullying.

• Expect your child to deal with the bullying on his or her own, or to ignore the bullying. Ignoring may fuel a new challenge for the person(s) bullying.

• Contact the parent(s) of the student(s) who are bullying your child.

The Bystander

If you find that your child is a bystander, educate him or her about the role of the bystander, who becomes part of the bullying if he or she participates, supports, or ignores.

All bullying hurts. Some bullying leaves visible bruises and scars.
Other bullying may leave emotional scars forever if left unattended.




Call your child’s school or the
Superintendent in charge of Safe Schools.
613-544-6925, x319


© 2007 - Limestone District School Board - Questions or concerns may be addressed to the board webmaster by clicking

Last Modified: Aug 26, 2010
© 2009 - Limestone District School Board - Questions or concerns may be addressed to the school webmaster by clicking here.