#OntarioSchools; #PinkShirtDay; OnlineSurveyLaunched; #BullyingExperiences
Toronto, Feb 26 (Canadian-Media): The launch of an online survey was announced by Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce, on today's Pink Shirt Day, learn about the bullying experiences from students, parents and guardians, and school staff of Ontario schools, media reports said.
Pink Shirt Day. Image credit: Twitter handle
Pink Shirt Day is being observed in Canada on Feb 26 and on this day people wear pink shirts to school or work to show they are against bullying.
The focus for Pink Shirt Day 2020 is "lift each other up."
Bullying has been reported by 21 percent of Ontario students in Grades 7-12, according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
Decisive action is being taken to by Ontario government to combat the common practice of bullying in Ontario's playgrounds, schools and communities, Lecce said, to ensure the protection and respect of every person regardless of their faith, heritage, orientation, race or income.
"Every child deserves to learn in a safe and inclusive school, that is why we are empowering students to have a voice," said Lecce.
The government has updated the Health and Physical Education curriculum for Grades 1 to 8 to now include mandatory learning about online safety in all grades, including learning about cyberbullying, cyber security, privacy, to build and support healthy relationships, and develop skills to identify, prevent, and resolve issues that may lead to bullying. Implementation of the updated curriculum began in September 2019.
The government has invested $3.18 million in the 2019-20 fiscal year to promote a positive school climate, support healthy relationships, build empathy and address bullying and cyberbullying.
Nearly $40 million in the 2019-20 fiscal year was announced in October by Ontario to advance student mental health in partnership with education groups, with commitments to permanently fund approximately 180 frontline mental health workers in secondary schools.
Ontario's investment of $3.8 billion over 10 years facilitate creation of new mental health and addictions services and expand existing programs.
Five new initiatives were announced by Ontario government November 2019 to combat bullying in schools including: the student survey; assignment of Christina Mitas, MPP for Scarborough Centre and former teacher, to advise the Minister on education on bullying prevention; training for educators in anti-bullying and de-escalation techniques; a review of school reporting practices on bullying; and review of the definition of bullying in ministry policies to reflect of today's realities.
A better understanding of this issue and notions to prevent and report bullying and ways to make schools safer can be gained by this new survey.
Member of Parliament Christina Mitas also stressed the awareness of bullying practices at the classroom levels by online survey would facilitate the prevention of bullying in the schools.
"This will assist us in framing the problem and designing more effective programs - ones that will keep our children safe," said Mitas.
Students, parents and guardians and school staff are encouraged to participate in the survey, which is posted at https://www.ontario.ca/page/consultation-bullying-ontario-schools.