A Child’s Best Interest
“I think the goal is overall student safety… school safety… but you know, I think it’s just awareness.”
~ Aaron McKenzie, Vice-Principal Stanley Humphries Secondary School.
B.C.’s ERASE Bullying Training Sessions
In one of his first appearances as the province’s new education minister, Don McRae said 15,000 educators and community partners will receive training over the next five years, and the first round started in October. The ERASE Bullying strategy will ensure all public and independent schools have a consistent approach to the prevention of bullying, he added.
The anti-bullying training sessions to learn about our new approach to school safety are multi-disciplinary. As I am writing this post, you can look at the video at the bottom of this paragraph you will first be given a chance to hear a 2 minute video of the Education Minister talking about our new plan to increase by 50% the number of high school students going directly into the trades. The BC Ministry of Education is spending $75 Millon dollars on hiring high school trades instructors. If you want to quickly skip to the next video in the playlist, first click anywhere in the video to start playback, then on the YouTube control bar at the bottom of the video, the second arrow to appear to the right of the play arrow is the fast forward arrow. The government of BC will probably continue to add videos to this playlist, but you can fast forward in the playlist to find “BC’s ERASE Bullying Training Sessions.” You will see Susan Wilson of the British Columbia Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils at counter 1:30 of this ERASE Bullying video, saying parent leaders need to know school protocol so we can help parents through these difficult situations involving the safety of their children. After her, comes Holly Kavanaugh, a school psychologist from School District #57, Prince George, BC. Ms. Kavanaugh says the violence at-risk assessment is a wonderful foundation and method of analyzing all threats that might be occurring in schools so that we are not missing blatant indicators that a youth is on a path of self-harm or harming others. This framework is good. It’s also an opportunity to connect with our community partners who will be doing the same work with us, but looking through a different lens. The in-school partners are parents, teachers, principals, and school psychologists. Some of the out-of-school partner agencies listed in the video, are the police school liaison officers, and workers from child and youth mental health, and the Canadian Center for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response.
The Vancouver Sun newspaper says the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, which has been lobbying the government for years to improve anti-bullying measures and strengthen codes of conduct in schools, was also represented at the anti-bullying forum, even though the strategy does not address the union’s call for specific policies in all schools to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. I think as with parental alienation, there has been wide acceptance across the continent from diverse groups of the need to protect all children, and pointing out that LGBT students are among other high-risk groups for bullying. It makes sense that as child advocates, the teachers union would be in favour of protecting our children.
SFU associate criminology professor Brenda Morrison described ERASE Bullying as a step in the right direction, but said she worries about the emphasis on threat assessment and codes of conduct. “It sounds like a ‘zero tolerance’ strategy,” she said, noting that U.S. schools tried that approach for years but are now moving away from it.
“Instead, many states and school districts are ramping up community engagement policies and non-punitive approaches to addressing the problem. This includes more emphasis on developing social and emotional intelligence and literacy in schools, along with implementing restorative justice approaches,” Morrison, who is also director for the university’s Centre for Restorative Justice, said in an email to the newspaper.
And check out the ERASE Bullying website geared towards parents and students.
Abbotsford School Suspensions Dropping
Drugs are still the primary reason for disciplineAbbotsford school suspensions are on a steady downward trend, according to a report presented to the board of education November 12, 2012.
However, drugs continue to be the primary reason discipline is meted out to students, the data shows. Total suspensions, both in and out of school, have declined by 30 per cent since 2007/08, said SD34 spokesman Dave Stephen.
Drugs were the number one reason for out-of-school suspensions with more than 160 students disciplined last year. That number was a five-year high for the offence, which has resulted in 100-plus secondary students punished annually, with the exception of 2010.
Defiance was second reason for suspension with 110 students punished, followed by fighting and bullying at 80 and 60 students, respectively.
The bulk of the suspensions, the larger number involving boys, took place in Grades 9 and 10, according to the report.
“I think you’ll find that trend is the same in districts across the province,” said Stephen.
Read the rest of the Abbotsford Times article here.
Also an interesting link, courtesy of my friend Clint, and CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who tells us to start the national conversation and the conversation in our own families to prevent a deadly overdose from prescription drugs, because prescription drugs now kill more people in America each year than car crashes.
“People are dying in large numbers every year because they do not know that if you drink four or five beers and then pop an Oxycontin, for example, it shuts down the part of your brain that tells your body to breathe while you are asleep.” – Former President Bill Clinton
Abbotsford Parent-Teacher News
District Parent Advisory Council Meets Thursday, Nov 22, 7pmAt our last meeting, a draft DPAC Constitution was provided by a guest. There are two major revisions in this draft Constitution. The first to remove March and June meetings from our schedule. This is part of a larger movement across Abbotsford to reduce the number of public meetings about education. The second revision is to acknowledge, that we all commonly use electronic communications, like this website. Do you think parents would vote to reduce public meetings about education & then start Canadian Charter schools? Do you think, given the importance of education to our global future, it is in children’s best interest to reduce public discussion about education? The government of British Columbia is trying to open up discussion, it is the teachers who are trying to shut down Parent-Teacher meetings. None of the parents present realized that the entire DPAC executive had resigned in May 2012 or that no motions could be made or votes held until elections had been held first.
Why would anyone want to remove June meetings from Abbotsford’s DPAC schedule?
If our executive resigns each May, as it did this year, then June must be our election month each year, right? In past years, the DPAC Chairperson has declared that we never hold meetings in June. The DPAC Constitution was never posted or handed out to new Representatives or even to our schools and rarely were executives elected. Then in January the DPAC chairperson would tell us that the chair would appoint someone to fill empty positions. This is how our present DPAC chairperson was appointed to the position. In fact both our true Constitution dated May 27, 2004 and our draft Constitution dated May 24, 2012, describe the same election process and the same Annual General Meeting in MAY.
At Section 11 Sub-section 1 – Election of Executive Officers both Constitutions state:
- The Executive shall be elected by the Representatives, from among the elected or appointed Representatives or other persons so nominated by the PAC’s in May of each year. It sounds like not only does the DPAC Chairperson not need to be a DPAC Representative, they might not even need to be a parent! If a DPAC Chairperson is not a DPAC Representative, then they cannot vote for themselves of anyone else in an election.
Sub-section 2 states:
- Call for Nominations shall be made at the first meeting in April. Nominations shall remain open until immediately before the election (in May). This means a new executive stands down for one month, while the old executive runs it’s final June meeting and the new term of office starts in July.
Sub-section 3 states:
- In the event that only one nomination is received for any Executive position, a “yes” or “no” vote will be taken. If a majority of “no” votes is received, the position will be considered vacant.
Sub-section 4 states:
- In the event of a vacancy, the Council shall elect a new officer. If a vacancy occurs after December 1st, the Executive may appoint someone to fill the position to complete the term.
Sub-section 5 states:
- Elections shall be conducted by the Nominating Committee Chairperson.
Sub-section 6 states:
- Scrutineers shall be appointed as required by the Nominating Committee Chairperson at the time of elections.
- The term of office shall commence in July of each year.
The DPAC executive did go around Abbotsford encouraging all schools to update their Constitutions to allow for electronic communication, but I think they were too busy working on the Developmental Assets Project and the DPAC Constitution has remained unchanged since 2004. Not only have the present DPAC executive breached our Constitution by failing to hold meetings in March, June, and September and by failing to hold elections, but also by failing to update our Constitution to reflect our common use of modern communication technology.
Modern Electronic Communications
The new email clause is added to Section 10 Sub-section 4 of our draft DPAC Constitution, stating:
When time is limited, a response using social media or email can be utilized. This provides a faster option for responses and reflects ways to communicate with more parents on mass. A full report will be provided to the membership at the next general meeting.
Our DPAC Constitution has another amazing clause at Section 8 Sub-section 2 – Meetings: There shall be an Annual General Meeting for the purpose of elections of Officers held in May of each year and additional general meetings shall be held at least once a month except December. Sub-section 5 is even more amazing, stating all topics of discussion at Executive Meetings shall be considered public information unless unanimously agreed beforehand.
It sounds difficult to operate under our DPAC Constitution. We need at least ten parents, who have been elected DPAC Representative for their school and who want to get involved in public education and make things better for our children.
Equal Parenting vs Lone Parenting
Linda Gottlieb’s Amicus Brief in Support of 50-50 Custody
In her Amicus Brief in support of 50-50 Custody, Linda Gottlieb simply writes about the principles by which any child will be devastated by divorce. Linda points out that the customary visitation/parenting arrangement conveys to children that the residential parent is more vital and important to them, possesses more authority, and is probably entitled to garner more respect.
The self-esteem of the child of the same gender as the non-residential parent will likely be diminished as a result. And the child of the same gender as the residential parent will likely develop a sense of superiority over the other gender. In fact, it has been my decades-long experience that residential parents become empowered by the imbalance in time with their children in their favour because this justifies their sense of entitlement to make unilateral decisions regarding their children’s education, medical care, and social activities – and not always in the best interests of the children.
You can read the full brief here.
La fête des bulles d’amour – 25 avril, 2013
Ensemble, nous sommes capables de beaucoup.
Il n’y a que 154 jours avant la journée de sensibilisation!
Bubbles Of Love Day – April 25, 2013
Together We Can Make A Difference
Only 154 days till Awareness Day!
Parental Alienation: Why Be Aware?
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Re-connect With Your Kids
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