June 16, 2010
SHEDIAC (CNB) - Education Minister Roland Haché received first-hand experience about the kinds of positive initiatives taking place in schools when he visited students and teachers in Shediac today in preparation for the province's first anti-bullying summit.
The minister spent the morning at École Mgr-François-Bourgeois in Shediac, which has students from kindergarten to Grade 8. He participated in a year-end recognition celebration of the efforts of students and staff to eliminate bullying and create a positive school environment.
"There are some very impressive anti-bullying initiatives going on in schools throughout the province," said Haché. "Students are taking leadership roles in addressing this issue, and I am very impressed. However, they cannot do it alone. Eliminating bullying is a shared responsibility among the school system, parents and the community, and this is why the upcoming summit will bring all these important partners together."
At the beginning of the year, students signed a commitment stating what they would do during the academic year to respect their classmates. This morning, they re-read their letters to see if they reached their objectives.
"We are pleased to welcome the minister of education so he can see the efforts of the students, staff, and community to create a positive learning environment at École Mgr-François-Bourgeois," said Marc Michaud, the school's principal. "The motto of our project, Je dis non à l'intimidation (Say no to bullying) summarizes our initiatives very well: together, we can make a difference. Bullying is a much more widespread problem in society than people may think. Schools are not the only place where it occurs. Today, we are celebrating our commitment to make a difference in people's lives."
Each week at École Mgr-Francois-Bourgeois, four students and a staff member are chosen for being nice and respecting others. Every Friday, staff members wear a blue t-shirt, Je dis non à l'intimidation, to show students that they have support if they need it.
The minister's summit on bullying begins in Fredericton on Thursday, June 17, with more than 100 students, parents, teachers and community groups from across the province attending the one-day event. The summit will also be an opportunity for students to share experiences about what is happening in their schools.
The Department of Education has issued a discussion paper about bullying in schools in advance of the summit. It is on the department's homepage.
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Kilfoil, communications, Department of Education, 506-444-4919.