Reflecting on October at IESÅ
Today our youth engage in more communication than ever before. The technological era has created more opportunities for our students to connect, absorb information and share their voice. Unfortunately, this can create an outlet for bullying and/or harassment. How do we approach this in the schooling system?This month we have asked our students to engage in meaningful reflection about safety at school- What makes us feel safe? What makes us feel heard? What are the things that make us feel unsafe? What can we do about it?
In order to explore these topics, our staff and students engaged various discussions about bullying and harassment (physical, verbal and digital). It is vital that our students understand what strategies can be used to stand up to and/or deal with bullying or harassment when they encounter it. In mentor time lessons, students were given scenarios and examples to discuss and were provided with strategies that could work in different situations and throughout the school, we have had competitions, events and communications revolving around these topics accessible to all!
What did we do?
Throughout the month, our students were introduced to different challenges and events to encourage them to think further about these topics including:
- SAGA Group Drag Race event that supported freedom of sexuality and gender expression
- Mentor time workshop about sexual harassment and consent. Students learned strategies for telling someone "No" and for identifying different forms of harassment
- Logo-design competition with the goal to communicate positivity and anti-bullying values (congratulations to Serah in 5A on your winning design, pictured in this article)
- Pink Shirt Day! (Each day for one month our students wore pink on Wednesdays. Pink Shirt Day is a movement that schools all around the world do to show their support for people who have experienced bullying)
- Junior School Social Media Posters
- The difference between reporting and "snitch" culture (open conversations with students about why you should always report bullying or harassment when you see it)
- Anti-bullying door competition
- Social media workshops lead by HOS for parents
A student from 8C, Linn Leinder, shared about her experience in learning about the anti-bullying and harassment topics this month. Quoted "I thought that the consent talks we had in mentor time were very valuable. I now know how to approach someone who is doing something that makes me uncomfortable. We watched a video that really helped us to understand what consent is and how it is given".
Looking back, we can certainly say that our students have gained valuable insight about how bullying impacts people and what they can do to be an ally and stand up for eachother. Ultimately, by having these conversations with our students, we help all stakeholders to work together to create a safe space for all.