Hamilton public school board’s anti-bullying review resumes late this month


Published September 10, 2020 at 6:27 pm

The Hamilton public school board’s anti-bullying review will resume this month as it hosts, virtually, the last two community engagements of the process.

The Hamilton public school board’s anti-bullying review will resume this month as it hosts, virtually, the last two community engagements of the process.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board’s (HWDSB) Safe Schools: Bullying Prevention and Intervention Review Panel was put on hold in April, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a press release issued this week, the board says that they are getting the project back on track starting September 22.

“We remain committed to providing feedback and recommendations on how to prevent, intervene, respond to and report bullying thanks to the valuable input provided by participants across our community,” said Safe Schools Review panellist Jean Clinton in the release.

“The panel and HWDSB aim to build collaborative solutions that further contribute to safe learning environments, equity and social justice for all HWDSB students.”

The remaining community sessions are confirmed to take place virtually through Zoom as follows:

  • General Session – Waterdown Community: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.
  • Racialized Community Session: Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.

The independent review panel consists of community members with decades of experience, knowledge and skills. They include Clinton, Brenda Flaherty and Dr. Gary Warner.

In May, the panel submitted an interim report on their findings from the community engagement sessions held earlier in the year in which more than 900 members of the community attended.

In that report, the panel provided a summary of the themes emerging from the engagement process.

Most notably, a call for improved mental health resources and support, training for staff and students as well as reviewing the consequences for bullies and victims after an incident and ensuring victims aren’t punished as part of that process are highlighted.

A review of the HWDSB’s bullying protocols was launched in late 2019 after they came under increasing scrutiny following the murder of 13-year-old Devan Bracci-Selvey in October 2019.

Bracci-Selvey was murdered outside of his East Hamilton school, Sir Winston Churchill, in front of his mother.

Bracci-Selvey was reportedly bullied by those currently facing charges in the incident that led to the boy’s death.

“Key themes and the lived experiences and stories told during the remaining sessions will help to inform the specific recommendations and feedback from the panel members in the final report,” the release says.

Online surveys for students, parents and staff, as well as staff and student sessions, will take place this fall and outcomes from these will also be included.

Members of the community can now register for the virtual sessions through Eventbrite at bit.ly/safeschoolsreview.

Registration will close 48 hours prior to the start of the sessions and 100 registrants will be allowed in each session.

The final report is expected to be presented to the board no later than December 16, 2020.

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