Building a Safe and Caring Community

Building a Safe and Caring Community
Posted on 09/15/2022
Building a Safe and Caring Community

A recent video of a violent attack on a student near Gloucester High School has rightly prompted significant concerns from families and students about the safety of youths in our community.

The OCDSB condemns this act of senseless violence and is supporting the police and school investigations. We continue to support the student and their family.in their recovery and return to school. We would like to thank all those who have extended their best wishes to the student at this time. We would ask that everyone respects the privacy of the student and their family and avoid spreading rumours and speculation about the incident.

This incident has raised important discussions about safety, bullying, violence, and racism, hate and discrimination in schools and the broader community. Parents across the City of Ottawa, are saying this incident demonstrates why they sometimes feel afraid for their children.

What are we doing about it?

Last year, based on extensive community input and consultations, the OCDSB approved a new  Safe Schools policy. This policy is rooted in our commitment to human rights and equity. We know that too many students continue to experience hate, violence and discrimination on the basis of their race, creed/religion, ability, or identity. 

Building a safe community is everyone’s responsibility.

We know having a policy is not enough. To build a positive school climate where all students feel safe, valued and know that they belong, we have to change the lived experience of students at school. Fostering relationships and building trust is essential.

Students, staff, families, and community partners, we must work together to protect all members of our community, particularly those who may be more vulnerable. If you are a witness to violence, bullying, harassment, hate or discrimination, there are ways you can help.  

  • Report any concerning incidents to your school, a trusted adult, police or anyone who can help
  • Speak out: If it’s safe to do so, bystanders can speak out against bullying, violence, harassment, hate or discrimination.
  • Be kind: Comfort the person who was hurt and make it known that what happened was not fair or deserved. Be a friend. Ask what you can do to help.
  • Stop the spread of videos or images that cause further harm. This includes violent imagery, offensive material or intimate imagery not intended to be shared.

We know there may be times when students want to share concerns and would feel more comfortable remaining anonymous. This fall, the OCDSB will be launching a new anonymous reporting tool in secondary schools for students looking to share concerns about the health, well-being and safety of themselves or others.

 

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