The Division is committed to providing an environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Each student has the right to learn in a safe and supportive setting, where there is an absence of degrading or threatening behaviour. Harassment, in any of its forms, will not be tolerated in the Division.
Bullying is the most common form of harassment occurring in schools, and as such, it warrants particular emphasis through procedures and programming. The effect of bullying behaviour is highly destructive, limiting significantly the right of every person to learn and work in a safe and supportive setting. All members of the school community have a responsibility to create an environment that is characterized by an absence of intimidating or threatening behaviour.
Bullying is a conscious, willful, deliberate, and repeated hostile activity marked by an imbalance of power, intent to harm, and/or a threat of aggression. When bullying escalates unabated, it may lead to a feeling of terror on the part of the individual being bullied. Bullying may include, but is not limited to: physical intimidation or assault; extortion; oral or written threats; teasing putdowns; name-calling; threatening looks; gestures or actions; cruel rumours; false accusations; and social isolation. It can occur in any combination of interactions between students, staff and parents.
Harassment includes behaviour, which may be verbal, physical, deliberate, unsolicited or unwelcome. It, in effect or intent, disparages, humiliates or harms another person. It is behaviour which denies individuals' dignity and respect, and is demeaning to another person. Harassment may include, but is not limited to, references related to age, national or ethnic origin, religion, gender, diverse sexual orientation, gender identities and expressions, disability, race, sources of income or family status. The behaviour need not be intended as harassing to be considered as personal harassment. It is sufficient that one knows or ought reasonably to know that his/her behaviour is offensive and unwelcome.
Harassment is any action or repeated behaviour or verbal action that is unwelcome or intimidating and denies individual dignity and respect. Harassment may include:
- Verbal abuse or threats;
- Negative remarks, mocking, jokes, innuendoes or taunts about a person's body, attire, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ethnic or national origin, socio-economic status or religion;
- Displaying of pornographic, racist or other offensive or derogatory pictures/material;
- Practical jokes which cause awkwardness or embarrassment;
- Sexual invitations, requests or demands, whether indirect or explicit;
- Intimidation to participate in unlawful or unethical activity, or to participate in activities which contravene school and/or Board policy;
- Unwelcome physical contact; or
- Coercing or influencing third parties to harass others.
- Using the Internet, or other communication tool, to intimidate, harass, or embarrass others.
Hazing is any act that is humiliating, intimidating or demeaning, or endangering the health and safety of the person; committed against someone joining or becoming a member or maintaining membership in any organization. Hazing includes active or passive participation in such acts and occurs regardless of the willingness to participate in the activities! Hazing creates an environment/climate in which dignity and respect are absent
- The learning and work environment can and does extend beyond the immediate school or Division Office. These sites can also extend to the playground, school bus, work experience placement, school or work-related social activities, and school work-related travel or field trips. The work and learning environment may also include the use of various electronic media such as a telephone, fax, websites, and e-mail.
- Bullying, in any form, including cyber bullying, is not tolerated in the Division, and the Superintendent expects that when Division staff observe any act of bullying they will take immediate, appropriate steps to intervene.
- The level of intervention will depend on the frequency and severity of the bullying behaviour.
- Each intervention will exercise fairness, common sense and appropriate discretion and where possible, address restitution, resolution and reconciliation (see Appendix).
- When bullying behaviour escalates, procedures identified in the Risk/Threat Assessment Protocol may be required.
- All reports of bullying are to be investigated fully by the Principal or Supervisor.
- Such reviews are to take into account knowledge of previous student behaviour and may involve interviews with students, parents, and school staff.
- It may also be necessary to peruse school records; contact previous school attended, and identify relevant family issues.
- Each school year, students shall be informed by school staff that harassment/bullying behaviour is not acceptable and be encouraged to inform school staff, the Principal or their parents when they experience harassment/bullying by their peers or by adults in the school, or become aware that other students are being bullied. This expectation is to be reinforced repeatedly throughout the school year.
- Through the school opening newsletter, the school handbook and other home/school communications, parents shall be requested to inform school staff when they become aware of bullying incidents occurring in the school community.
- Students who experience or witness harassment/bullying are to:
- Report promptly the details of the complaint to a person in authority (school staff, the Principal, or the Superintendent).
- If practical, directly advise the offender, either verbally or in writing, that his/her behaviour is unacceptable and unwelcome, and ask him/her to stop.
- All complaints will be dealt with. The person in authority is to consider the following:
- If the complaint is deemed to be frivolous or vexatious the person in authority may decide that no action is necessary.
- Assist the complainant in speaking to the offender directly, or speak to the offender on the complainant's behalf.
- If an incident requires an investigation the matter will/may be referred to the Principal or the Superintendent.
- Advise the offender that it be expected the harassing behaviour will cease immediately.
- Advise the offender that the behaviour is in violation of Administrative Procedure 170 and if it does not cease, appropriate interventions will take place, including, but not exclusive to, a warning, an offering of a verbal or written apology, suspension or recommendation for expulsion.
- Where appropriate, parent(s) of the students involved will be informed.
- The decision may be appealed to the Principal; the Principal’s decision to the Superintendent; and the Superintendent's decision to the Board.
- Complaint resolution mechanisms are available to all students, but the procedures available in the Division do not prohibit the filing of a complaint outside the organization with the Alberta Human Rights Commission, union, or through civil or criminal court.
- Incidents that are determined to be serious in nature will be recorded in a confidential file.
Section 33, 52, 197, 204 Education Act
Alberta Human Rights Act
Employment Standards Code
Occupational Health and Safety Act
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Canadian Human Rights Act
Individual’s Rights Protection Act
Approved: April 22, 2004;
Amended: April 5, 2016; January 9, 2018; August 21, 2018
Reviewed July 2021