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Bullying issue raised at Myrtle Philip PAC meeting.



No matter how it manifests itself, bullying at any age is hard to deal with.

Some students, parents and the administration at Myrtle Philip are coming face to face with that reality as the school copes with some disturbing incidents at the school.

While there is no violence involved, the teasing and name-calling has created a ripple effect throughout the school.

Recently parents at a Myrtle Philip Parent Advisory Council meeting raised the issue and searched for some answers.

"We had some parents who felt that their concerns had not been resolved (at the school level) so our question is what will happen to any parent in that situation," said Cathy Jewett, chair of the PAC.

To answer that question and search for information the PAC passed a motion to review the policies and guidelines on bullying in the school. The hope is to offer better information to the parents on how the school handles these issues and to find out what resources are available to those who need it.

The most important thing for a parent to do, said Jewett, is communicate with the school.

"The parent should send two notes to the school," said Jewett. "One to the teacher and one to the principal.

"That way it is recorded. The next thing is to talk to the people at the school, such as the principal, vice principal, the counselor, and the teachers to find out what action is going to be taken by the school and what action should be taken by the parent.

"If that doesn’t work then we have to look beyond the school."

While Jewett would not discuss the details of the current incidents she would say that a couple of parents are not satisfied with they way the school has handled the issues.

"I would say the system is working 99 per cent of the time," said Jewett.

"But when it doesn’t work it is very frustrating and that is the situation these parents feel that they are in.

"It is agonizing to watch these parents, and the kids that they believe are involved on the other side of the issue.

"Emotions are running very high. The parents when they left (the PAC meeting), the ones who brought this concern forward, they still don’t feel they have resolution."

In the most recent Myrtle Philip newsletter Principal Ron Albertin also reached out to parents on the issue. He told parents the school has a zero tolerance policy on bullying.

But he also told them the school focuses on reinforcing social responsibility rather than punishment. The inappropriate behaviour of students is pointed out to them, its consequences are discussed and the student has a chance to reform the behaviour.

Only if this process fails is more severe action taken, which can include suspension where warranted.

"Punishment doesn’t teach," said Albertin.

He also encouraged parents to keep in touch with the school if there are any concerns.

"I am very pleased with the caring environment that our staff create and how we handle things," said Albertin.

"But it is like anything else. You always have to bring it up and make sure we are all on the same page.

"And the first thing parents must do is report it because if we don’t know we cant help.

"Then we have to investigate and we have to take action. If they are not happy they can go above my head to the superintendent and then on to the school board.

"I think we have a very safe school.

"I think we have kids that go through developmental stages, and yes they call each other names, and yes we have to tell them it is not appropriate and yes we have to deal with them."