We all feel the need to belong.  The relationships we have built with family, friends and the community provide the roots that shape our character.  Positive attachments with those we care deeply about provide the foundation for our personalities.  When our parents demonstrate how proud they are of our achievements we feel special.  When our best friend runs to greet us we see the caring in their eyes.  When our soccer coach highlights our sportsmanship we strive to achieve even more.  When we have a strong sense of belonging we feel accepted.  All of our children deserve to be treated in this way.  They have a strong desire to be acknowledged as true individuals.

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Do we always accept individuality?  When a person demonstrates behaviour that is outside established norms do we accept or do we ridicule?  Too often our children do not feel that their individuality is recognized.  They feel isolated and that strong sense of belonging, which they crave, is absent from their lives.  School grounds can sometimes be a place where this individuality is compromised.  Targeted bullying whether it is face to face or behind a screen can have devastating life long effects.  The following story illustrates the power of individuals to change attitudes.

Continue reading here.

by  Scott Wallace  on 2/5/2012 4:59 PM

~from the Gleneagles Elementary School Blog

British Columbia is consulting education partners while planning tougher anti-bullying policies to improve school safety for all students, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT).

Action was promised recently by Premier Christy Clark, who gained a reputation as an anti-bullying advocate while working as a talk-show host at CKNW radio, but details have not been released.

“My government is going to … do more to make sure that every child, as much as is possible, is protected from bullying in their school,” she told the legislature recently. “No matter what the cause or reason [for] that bullying, it is unacceptable.”

Clark described the issue as urgent, but the opposition NDP says she favours talk over action. It has challenged her to follow the lead of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, who recently reached out to gay teens with his own It Gets Better video and introduced a bill requiring boards of education to develop anti-bullying policies, promote tolerance and sup-port students who want gay-straight clubs – student-led alliances that sup-port LGBT kids – in their schools.

McGuinty has been hit with a storm of protest from religious groups, and some say Clark should expect the same if she proposes an anti-bullying policy that pays special attention to LGBT students or requires gay-straight alliances in faith-based schools.

“We would be 100-per-cent behind a policy or legislation that was against all forms of bullying,” said Doug Lau-son, president of the Federation of Independent School Associations of B.C., in an interview Wednesday. “But to emphasize one form of bullying would be problematic.”

Lauson, who is also superintendent of Catholic independent schools, said none of his schools has a gay-straight alliance and he doesn’t believe they are necessary because Catholic schools have student councils to protect students’ rights.

On the other side of the debate is the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), which has been demanding better protection for LGBT student for years. Vice-president Glen Hansman said the union met with government officials recently to press for an anti-bullying policy in all schools that would pay particular attention to homophobic and racist bullying.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/plans+tougher+anti+bullying+policies+protect+students/5870691/story.html#ixzz1h5uttdNH

By Janet Steffenhagen,  December 18, 2011

jsteffenhagen@vancouversun.com

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

This article from The New York Times’ Opinion Pages features an innovative program that may aid in the fight against bullying.

Click here to read the full article.

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