May 23, 2003

Together We Can Stop Bullying program launched today


NEWMARKET - York Regional Police and York Region Health Services have teamed together to address the bullying problem in York Region, in collaboration with the York Region District School Board and the York Catholic District School Board. The Together We Can Stop Bullying program was launched today at one of the program's pilot schools.

The goal of the project is to develop a comprehensive, culturally sensitive, anti-bullying model targeted to elementary school communities.

"Violence can target and affect all children," commented York Regional Police Deputy Chief Bruce Herridge. "The aim of this project is to take a proactive approach to violence and bullying in elementary school populations before behaviours become entrenched in the secondary school and community environment."

"There is no single solution to the problem of youth violence in our community," added Dr. Hanif Kassam, Acting Commissioner of Health Services and Medical Officer of Health for York Region. "Bullying and youth violence are community issues. We must all work together – parents, schools, the community and the government - to resolve this problem."

Bullying is not a new problem. Studies indicate that bullying occurs approximately every seven minutes on school playgrounds. What’s new is the attitude towards bullying.

York Regional Police and York Region Health Services are leading the anti-bullying pilot project in four City of Vaughan elementary schools: St. Joseph the Worker CES, Yorkhill Public School, Divine Mercy CES and Glen Shields Public School. Each of the schools volunteered to take part in this project, not because of the degree of bullying or violence in their schools, but because of their desire to be part of this innovative and proactive project.

The Together We Can Stop Bullying project consists of a pre and post survey to students, teachers and administrators. The survey asks students to report on the extent to which they have experienced being bullied and/or bullying their peers. Students are also asked to rate their experiences with different forms of bullying, including social exclusion, physical and social forms of aggression. In addition, teachers and administrators are asked to comment on their perceptions of bullying in the school. Survey information is used to identify areas of concern.

Based on the survey results, the anti-bullying program elements are unique to each school community, however all the pilot schools have these elements in place:

The final result will see the development of a comprehensive program for use in schools across York Region.

Today's launch at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Elementary School featured an interactive anti-violence presentation by renowned motivational speaker Quincy Mack (Q-Mack) to 350 Junior and Intermediate students. Also present were Dr. David Wiebe, Director of Dental, Nutrition and Schools for York Region Health Services; Deputy Chief Bruce Herridge, York Regional Police; Bill Hogarth, Director of Education, York Region District School Board and

Charles McCarthy, Superintendent of Schools, York Catholic District School Board.

For more information on the York Region Together We Can Stop Bullying Program

contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.

Contact: Kim Clark, York Region Health Services, 905-830-4444 Ext. 4101

Police Constable Alison Cattanach, York Regional Police, 905-881-1221 Ext.7400


The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

 
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