According to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, one of three adolescent students in Canada report being bullied recently. Bullying has become the “elephant in the room,” particularly in the public school setting.
When people talk about quality education, they speak long and hard about well-trained staff, top-notch facilities, thorough curriculum and the like. What you almost never hear about is how few complaints there are about bullying at that school. Why is that? After all, as many of us know from personal experience, if someone is being bullied at school their learning is taking a back seat to surviving. There is no such thing as a child who thrives educationally while under threat from bullies at school.
Is bullying a real problem here in Mississauga, Ontario? And if so, what can a parent do about it?
Mississauga is considered one of the most culturally diversified cities in the world, and despite our Canadian value of peace and our tolerance for the beliefs of others, cultural differences give bullies plenty of opportunity to do their damage, and that damage can be long-lasting. Compounding religious or cultural differences with all-too-common language barriers makes the problem even worse.
As a former private school principal, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to speak with my public-school counterparts about the issues of bullying in the schools, and public school principals were always very envious of my situation in the private schools. Because even if a bully is clearly identified, getting the bully removed from his/her position of power is exceptionally difficult. And often the bullying problem persists long after public school administrators take action to remedy the problem.
With the Mississauga public schools, the student’s tuition is paid in advance by the community at-large. It is extraordinarily difficult to remove a student from his bullying situation altogether. The best option available to public school administrators is often to “shuffle the deck” by sending the offender to a nearby school (where he/she often finds new victims.) This deck-shuffling also brings offenders from other schools to your child’s public school without warning. Sending a bully to a private school Mississauga is almost never even considered.
Although paying private school tuition fees is a chore with which most people would like to do away, it turns out to be the most powerful tool in the hands of the Mississauga private school administrators to cut bullying issues from the school experience. That’s not to say that children in private high schools or even private elementary schools won’t experience bulling at all; it merely says that the private schools have a tool to use to keep bullying to a minimum if they choose to use it. Mississauga private school fees are not often looked upon as a positive aspect of private school education, but in this particular case, a negative can become a very strong positive. I hope that your child is not part of the one in three to be bullied at school recently, but if she is, perhaps giving her the option of attending a school where the bully cannot attend and where the administration can effectively deal with such a problem makes a lot of sense.