Bullying and Harassment

Teacher and students posing with pink paper hearts

Westmeath Public School students and Principal Shelley Cliche show off their paper hearts on RCDSB Pink Day.

Renfrew County District School Board (RCDSB) is dedicated to maintaining a safe, caring and respectful environment in all schools and sites. Behaviour that threatens the safety and security of students and staff members is not condoned.

Bullying is typically a form of aggressive and typically repeated behaviour directed at an individual or individuals that is intended to cause (or should be known to cause) fear and distress and/or harm to another person's body, feelings, self-esteem or reputation. Bullying occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance.

Harassment is words, conduct or action that is directed at an individual and serves no legitimate purpose and which annoys, alarms or causes that individual emotional distress. Harassment occurs when an individual is repeatedly singled out for serious mistreatment, which may include threats, bullying, verbal assault, taunting, ostracizing or violent gestures and actions.

Students can visit the Bullying page for videos clips, helpful links and resources on what to do if they or someone they know is a victim of bullying.

Accepting Schools Act

Bill 13, the Accepting Schools Act, passed in June 2012, is new legislation to help create safer, more accepting schools. Research shows that students who feel welcome, accepted and connected to school are more likely to succeed academically. Visit Accepting Schools Legislation for additional information.

Education and Training

Curriculum, character education, bullying prevention and violence prevention activities promote healthy relationships and appropriate behaviours. Teaching strategies such as co-operative learning encourage co-operation and non-violent, non-competitive behaviour. Partnerships with community agencies have also been developed to enhance initiatives against bullying, harassment and violence.

Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying is using electronic means to intimidate, harm, shun, attack or ruin a reputation. Cyber bullying includes the use of e-mails and instant messaging, text or digital imaging sent on cell phones, web pages and web logs (blogs), chat rooms and discussion groups. Cyber bullying may include but is not limited to:

  • Using a chat group, gaming or social networking site to attack a person's character;
  • Impersonating someone by breaking into his/her e-mail account, posing as that person and sending damaging messages;
  • Denigrating someone by sending or posting cruel rumours to damage his/her reputation;
  • Misusing an electronic device to take embarrassing photos and electronically sending them to others;
  • Outing or trickery, which involves revealing someone's secrets or embarrassing information online or tricking someone into revealing secrets while online;
  • Setting up polling sites by developing web pages so that peers can vote on who is the "dumbest" or "ugliest" student or staff member in the school; and
  • Creating hate sites, such as pages on social networking sites, designed to insult others.

These activities during or outside of school hours impact the safety, climate and the learning environment of students and teachers. The use of the Internet and electronic messaging for bullying or harassment will dealt with by the principal of the student's school.

RCDSB network users may not, for example:

  • Use an electronic device to violate the privacy or integrity of someone else;
  • Take photographic images of a person/persons on school property, at school events, and during school activities and/or school hours without the permission of the persons being photographed, unless it is for a school sanctioned activity (i.e. yearbook, school paper);
  • Transmit electronically or post photographic images of persons taken on school property, at school events, and during school activities and/or hours, without the permission of the persons being photographed. Where the student is below the age of 18, the consent of the parent/guardian or consent of the student if he/she is 16 or 17 and has withdrawn from parental control must be obtained.

Additional Information

Administrative Procedure 340 - Bullying/Harassment Prevention and Intervention (PDF, 48 kB)

Administrative Procedure 141 - Computers: Network, Internet and Electronic Devices (PDF, 72 kB)

Administrative Procedure 140 - Code of Conduct (PDF, 25 kB)

Administrative Procedure 311 - Violence Prevention and Reporting of Incidents(PDF, 62 kB)

Accepting Schools Act