On a weekly basis here at VMS we have to deal with a variety of situations ranging from lost mitts to sick students, to teasing, to incidents of conflict (both physical and or verbal). Each of the incidents are dealt with to the degree needed in order to assist or correct the situation.
I have heard from a couple of sources lately that they feel that the school does not handle bullying. To correct this mis-information we felt that we should explain that we do take bullying very seriously. But first we must define bullying. We define it as “the repeated and habitual use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate or aggressively dominate others”. It’s a pattern of behavior of a person(s) over another person(s). Do we see this? Yes. And do we deal with it? Most certainly. We seek to find as much information as possible and then act on it accordingly. Parents are informed and in certain situations our Police Liaison is involved. The majority of our school population never sees or hears about this due to privacy issues and the fact that we don’t want to publicly shame students, we only wish to correct their behavior and provide a safe place for students to learn. So just because you may not be hearing about it doesn’t mean it isn’t taking place and or handled appropriately. Related to this are individual/or isolated incidents that take place during school time. This may to be a physical or verbal conflict. Here again we collect all the information and then talk with the students involved. In most cases this is where it ends and the situation is resolved. In some cases we do call parents but often use our professional judgement to give students the opportunity to correct their actions.
In a school of 600 students you can imagine how many potential situations we might deal with and again, we handle them to the best of our ability with the information we’ve collected. In situations where a child comes home and reports an incident to parents we ask that, if needed, you call the teacher/school to clarify the information and or provide information as sometimes kids keep this information to themselves until they get home. The best calls we get start with “Hi my son/daughter came home with this story. Can you tell me more about it or check into it and get back to me?
We have the school theme of building a Caring Culture in a Community of Consistency under our four key values of being Respectful, Responsible, Caring and Sharing. We strive towards modelling this for the children and work towards teaching them, in partnership with you the parents, that these are important values to live our lives by.
We thank you for your support and trust and look forward to the remainder of the school year with our/your kids.
Garth Harrison/ Michael Cox
Valley Manor School