Maintaining A Safe Environment At Hillcrest Collegiate

Last month we highlighted bullying on the blog. This month we focus on specific strategies that the school uses to ensure a culture of bullying does not take root in the school.

Hillcrest Collegiate strives to maintain a culture of acceptance and a bullying incident can derail that quickly. This is why there is a strict policy of no tolerance implemented at the school. Teachers are vigilant and tend to address verbal or physical bullying through specific channels. When there is an incident where bullying occurs, the offender will be issued with a verbal warning. At this point, a formal incident report is also compiled for records. The teachers at Hillcrest Collegiate will then begin observing the learner more closely to correct behavior as it occurs. So for example, if the teacher notices that the offender is talking to the victim in an aggressive tone they will intervene right there and try to correct the behavior. The teacher does this by firmly outlining behavioral expectations with the learner. If the learner complies and shows that they are correcting their behavior, the teacher will use affirmative messages to encourage them. There are also a handful of teachers with counselling experience at the school and they try to work with the learner, when necessary, to change behaviours.

Sometimes, early intervention does not work and the behavior does persist. In these cases, a second verbal warning is issued and a message is sent out to the parents as well. Finally, if the learner still continues an undesirable behavior, a third warning is issued and a formal written warning is sent to the parents (with the incident report) and a suspension. When learners reach the point where they are struggling to regulate behavior the school sets up meetings with the parents. These meetings usually take on a problem solving role, teachers and parents try to work out how to help the learner change their behavior. If a learners behavior persists and becomes a serious problem, then the school will consider expulsion after the third warning.

One of Hillcrest Collegiate’s core goals is maintaining an emotionally safe environment. They believe that children will only thrive when they feel emotionally safe and free to be themselves. In a world where bullying has become the norm, this strategy of micromanaging bullying behavior is the best way to maintain this safe space at Hillcrest Collegiate.