Monday, April 11, 2016

Response from Halifax School Board to story about bullying at Chebucto Heights

Today, the superintendent of the Halifax school board issued this statement to all the staff of the board:

In it, he states that the tone of the article in the Chronicle Herald was hurtful and harmful to students, staff and community of Chebucto Heights.
The Halifax Regional School Board has a long history of welcoming students from all over the world. Some families come by choice, some families have the decision made for them. Regardless, when children enrol in our schools they become our students and, like all of our students, they have a right to a safe and supportive environment to learn, grow and succeed.
Do the children of the school who were there before the new children arrived, do they have a right to a safe and supportive environment?

I didn't find the tone of the article to be hurtful; I actually thought the original article was a clear reporting of some incidents at the school that were troubling.

The message from the superintendent sounds like an apology where none is required. And his closing line that we can all begin to handle such problems first by not discriminating, seems to indicate that he has already reached a conclusion about the incidents.
How can we do this? We can start by not stereotyping – a school, a group of people or a community.
In his mind, the recounting of these incidents smacks of discrimination. He says absolutely nothing about the welfare of the children who were bullied by the new kids, who happen to be refugees.

So being non-discriminatory trumps protecting children from violence at school?

Sounds like the reaction recommended is one that will not provoke any further actions by the refugees, behaviour that many communities have adopted in the face of Muslim immigration. Already we are taking this role from the beginning, rather than letting these children and their parents know that violent behaviour of this sort will simply not be tolerated here in Canada.

Shouldn't that be the superintendent's first message?

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