erase: The Story
Every child deserves an education free from discrimination, bullying, harassment, intimidation and violence. The erase strategy is helping ensure every child feels safe, accepted and respected.
The erase strategy has been around for a while – it all started with the Safe, Caring and Orderly Schools Strategy in 2004, and later, the Erase Bullying Strategy in 2012.
The strategy is designed to:
- Foster school connectedness
- Address bullying
- Prevent violence
- Provide support to school districts during critical incidents
Recently, it's been expanded to address complex issues including:
- Mental health and wellness
- Substance use
- Social media
- Sexual orientation and gender identity
- Gangs and gun violence prevention
The core principles of erase
Prevention of bullying and violence in schools
- Training for educators, community partners and parents on topics like social media, threat assessment and trauma response (more than 18,000 educators and community partners have participated in over 280 training sessions)
- Provincial guidelines for threat assessments
- Stronger codes of conduct for schools
- An anonymous online reporting tool to help students feel comfortable about reaching out for help (more than 1,200 incidents have been reported using this tool)
- Dedicated safe school coordinators in every school district have the skills and community connections to respond to potentially violent situations or bullying
- A provincial team of subject matter experts that acts as an advisory committee and provides direct support to school districts and independent schools
- A professional development day focused on anti-bullying for educators
- Anti-bullying and threat assessment training for pre-service teachers
District support for educators and community partners
- Critical incident support from districts out to parents and the media that uses consistent language province-wide
- School/police protocols
- Social-emotional training for educators
- Increased regional capacity so school communities are better equipped to handle safety issues as they arise
- Strong partnerships and information-sharing between school districts and law enforcement agencies
- Online resources for parents and students
Child and youth mental health supports
- An annual School Community Mental Health Conference focused on how to make life better for students who have mental health issues (in May 2018, the conference brought together more than 300 people from B.C. schools, police, health authorities and child and youth mental health)
- Mental health training and support materials for parents, educators, students and community partners
- Trauma informed training and mental health resources for educators
Supporting students of all sexual orientations and gender identities (SOGI)
- Create a provincial advisory group made up of education partners on SOGI
- Expand SOGI network of school districts – goal all 60 districts
- Provincial guidelines for SOGI inclusive education
- Regional capacity building for school districts
erase is based on creating safe and welcoming school cultures that support learning. That means having schools that are equitable, inclusive, diverse, tolerant, respectful and accepting.
The building blocks of a safe school community include:
Connectedness involves communication and caring that makes people feel valued, respected and wanted. When students are connected to their school, they feel that adults and peers at school care about them as individuals.
Research shows that youth who feel connected to their school are less likely to engage in risky behaviours like smoking, drinking, drug use, gang involvement, etc. They're also more likely to have better academic achievement, school attendance, and will stay in school longer than those who don’t feel connected.
Here are some factors that increase school connectedness:
Adult support. School staff and parents can dedicate their time, interest, attention and emotional support to students. Children and youth who feel supported by the important adults in their lives are more likely to be engaged in school and their learning.
Positive peer group. A stable network of peers can improve student perceptions of school and can also protect students from being bullied. Some research suggests that students who report feeling connected to school also report having the most friends at school.
Commitment to education. Students are more likely to engage in their own learning and get involved in school activities if they believe that school is important to their future and perceive that the adults in school are interested in their education.
School environment. A healthy, safe school environment with a supportive psychosocial climate enhances connectedness and sets the stage for positive, respectful relationships and safety. This can be influenced by factors like good discipline policies, opportunities for meaningful student participation, school activities, well-managed classrooms, etc.
Climate is the quality and character of school life with a focus on the quality of the relationships within the school community. This refers to how connected people feel to each other within the school, as well as how connected the school is to the community.
Classroom climate has a major effect on student behaviour. Children and youth often look to connect with one caring and responsible adult at school, in many cases, their teacher.
Culture is “the way we do things.” It's the shared beliefs, values and priorities of people within a school community. It’s not about religion, race or socio-economic status. It encompasses whatever “normal” is for a particular school. There may be a culture of teacher innovation, or of high parent involvement.
School culture can evolve and change. Dramatic changes typically take three to five years and require buy-in from those in the school community.
Success depends on all of us working together. Everyone has a role to play.
- Take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and behaviour
- Stand up for each other and speak out when others are being harassed or bullied
- Get involved in your school by participating in student activities and encourage others to do the same
- Encourage your child to talk openly with you or other adults at school about their ideas, needs and worries
- Talk to your child without judgement
- Maintain regular contact with your child’s teacher
- Ask school leaders what you can do to support them
- Get to know your child’s friends and their parents
Model good behaviour
- Create a caring, respectful home environment
- Teach their children about empathy and respect for others – helping them know how to be assertive, not aggressive
- Get your child involved in helping other adults – at home, school or in the community. Volunteering is a great way to do this
Participate in school events
- Stay current with what's going on at school by reading school newsletters, attending parent meetings, checking out the school website, etc.
- Get involved in school activities, committees or working groups
- Attend school meetings, read information that the school sends home to you and talk to teachers and staff
- Find out what your child is expected to learn and how they should behave in school, and support these expectations at home
- Take the lead in creating a supportive, respectful and inclusive school culture
- Set, communicate and consistently reinforce clear expectations of acceptable behaviour and hold students accountable for their actions
- Model and teach students about socially responsible behaviours
- Build support in the community, particularly for addressing safety concerns
- Understand important issues like bullying, harassment, racism, sexism and homophobia, and learning the skills needed to respond
Tell your story. Spread the word about the positive things happening at your school. Use #erase_embrace to share comments and stories online.