The Human Project: Our Anti-Bullying Philosophy

Bullying has been a hot topic throughout recent years with celebrities and lawmakers rallying behind the cause, calling for a change in the way we treat people, particularly in the classroom and on social media. 

There are many schools with approaches such as the ‘3 Strikes Policy’ to the ‘Zero Tolerance Policy’ where students will face suspension after any bullying has been reported.

Although the idea is to take a strict stance against bullying and send a clear message to children that this kind of negative behavior against their classmates will not be tolerated, approaches such as this can and tend to increase incidences of bullying in our communities. At DCIS at Fairmont is taking a different approach in terms of our anti-bullying protocol by attempting to always address bullying behavior at it’s roots.

That’s why for our community, anti-bullying is a ‘Human Project’. We believe strongly believe that each child is fundamentally good. At DCIS at Fairmont, the school mental health professionals, student leaders, and school administration are intimately involved in our proactive and reactive approach to bullying behavior. We have a whole child and well rounded approach that is both preventative and proactive as well as disciplinary, restorative and supportive after the fact. The goal of this approach is for children to understand that they are part of a community and to develop understanding and empathy for all members. This system is part of our Restorative Justice approach and has proved to be very constructive as it enables students to understand impact and work to repair it.

Unfortunately In life there will always be bullies. We are proud to be teaching our kids to stand tall against this kind of behavior and handle their issues together. We are proud to build skills in all our students that they can take with them throughout their lives and make their communities and their world a better place.

In Lak’ech
Tú eres mi otro yo.
You are my other me.
Si te hago daño a ti,
If I do harm to you,
Me hago daño a mi mismo.
I do harm to myself.
Si te amo y respeto,
If I love and respect you,
Me amo y respeto yo.
I love and respect myself.
­ Luis Valdez

How does Bullying differ from teasing or friendship difficulties?

Sometimes students can feel hurt or upset because they have been teased, have fallen out with a
friend or have participated in behavior that all parties have not consented to and enjoy. This is not the same as bullying. Bullying is:
• Deliberately intended to hurt or humiliate
• Involves an imbalance of power that makes it hard for the victim to defend themselves
• Is usually persistent but there can be one-off incidences
• Often involves no remorse of acknowledgement of the victim’s feeling a lack of empathy

How does our school develop a culture of anti-bullying?

We aim to set a climate in which bullying behavior is seen as unacceptable and there is an
emphasis on respect and empathy for others. We aim to prevent bullying by:

• Fostering mutual respect, and consideration through out school’s core. We aim to create a safe, happy, and inclusive environment for learning, and encourage students to value diversity and difference, protect the vulnerable, and appreciate how their actions might affect others.

• Developing students’ social skills, confidence, resilience and self- esteem; and defining the value of assertiveness in relationships as opposed to aggression, whether direct or indirect.

• Developing a culture in which diversity is championed and celebrated and in which the school takes a proactive role in educating students and other members of the school community in issues around equity.

• Utilizing Restorative Justice techniques to support students with disrupted relationships.

• Raising awareness about bullying through opportunities in the curriculum,
the social-emotional learning program, assemblies, and national events such as Anti Bullying Week.

• Educating students and other members of the school community about how to keep themselves safe when online or using social media or other electronic means of communication, so they take maximum precautions to help prevent themselves being victims of cyberbullying.

What is our curriculum?

We use the Second Step Curriculum to proactively develop students’ social skills, confidence, resilience and self- esteem; and defining the value of assertiveness in relationships as opposed to aggression, whether direct or indirect. Within this curriculum we teach students what bullying is, what they can do about it and how they can be an upstander in their community.

How does the school respond to bullying behavior?

It is vital that parents and care givers of students who feel they are being bullied should know that
their concerns will be listened to and acted upon. Every case must be taken seriously and
thoroughly investigated with clear consequences, safety guardrails and supports in place. Every child has the right emotional and physical safety in school and in their community.

When a student is identified and found to have engaged in bullying behavior, action is taken. The results of the initial investigation with students, staff and families are brought to the Student Support Team where disciplinary, restorative and protection measures are put immediately into place and communicated with families. We also recognize that in some cases extra support and counseling may need to be given to both the student(s) impacted or victimized and the student(s) expressing the bullying behavior.

It is vital that any student who is being bullied, feels confident and empowered to report the incident(s). Students must know how they can do this, who they should talk to and also feel safe that any report made will be taken seriously and that they will be listened to and the report investigated. This is a core part of our curricular program and response.

How can families report possible bullying behavior?

At DCIS at Fairmont, we are a strong community and we need your communication and support to keep it that way. If you believe there is a possibility of bullying behavior to your child or another child you know, please report it immediately to school administration or school mental health team members (Principal, Assistant Principal or School Psychologist). You can do this by calling our school directly during school hours or via email. We thank you for your support of our students!