Step 1: Set the Scene

What role can schools play?

SCENARIO : Student 1 has recently joined your classroom in the context of a school that is ethnoculturally homogenous. The student is a newcomer to Canada, and has just arrived from an African country. When Student 1 enters the room, all the other students stare at him. During recess, the students avoid him and whisper about him. When you have a small group project, you notice that the students exclude him, and you overhear Student 2 mutter something quietly to Student 1. She says: “Get away from me, you’re dirty”.

1You begin to assign groups in class, no longer allowing students to choose. You organize team-building sports and exercises, explaining to the students that they are required to work in cooperation at school.

2You immediately interrupt the bullying behaviour and meet with Students 1 and 2 individually. You provide support to Student 1 and together you explore strategies to increase his sense of safety. You encourage Student 2 to reflect upon her behaviour and to explore strategies for prevention and reparation.

3You identify that there is a school-wide problem and you decide to develop strategies to interrupt the bullying and engender real and ongoing change. You approach students, colleagues and your principal and together you undertake to revise and update the school’s code of conduct and all policies and procedures aimed at ensuring respect for differences, preventing bullying and addressing issues related to equity and inclusive education.

Explanation of the recommended response.