The Pledge

To mark the beginning of Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week, all school community members within Thames Valley District School board and our co-terminous board ~ London District Catholic School Board, will be asked to take “The Pledge” on November 14 at 10:00 a.m.

“I believe that everybody has a right to live in a community where they feel safe, included, valued and accepted regardless of differences.

I pledge to be respectful of others and stand up against bullying wherever and whenever I see it.”

As a school administrator, I feel strongly that we not only teach our children to comprehend, compose and communicate their calculations (my own contemporary version of readin’ writin’ and rithmetic) but that we purposefully teach our students what it means to be a good citizen.

As I’m composing this blog, I’m reminded of the Robert Fulghum poem, All I really needed to know I learned in Kindergarten.

” All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school….”

The rules of Kindergarten are simple and if everyone followed them, what a wonderful world we would live in.

As I counsel students in my office, after an altercation at school, I often refer to the “Golden Rule ~ Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. That has always been a simple, yet powerful message for students who have a sense of empathy and understand that their actions have hurt another person.

What does global citizenship look like in 2011? Is it any different than when I attended school? Or when my parents attended school?

Have the “bullies” changed within this generation? When I recall my days in elementary school, there was one “known” bully in our class. We all knew who he was and we all stayed away from him. As I grew older and became more aware of his home situation, I started to understand a little bit better why he felt that violence was the answer to everything.

Fast forward to today….Cyber-bullying is a term that was not part of our vernacular when I attended school, yet today, as a school administrator, it is rare to go through a week when I’m not dealing with an issue that either started or escalated on Facebook. Has this technology provided students with a forum to say things that they would never do face to face?

 Are the “victims” more reluctant to bring their issues to the attention of others? If so, how can we change that culture?

The “Pledge” is a step in that direction. This week, we will be focussing on encouraging Upstanders to Take a Stand and celebrating their strength as they do so.


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