HALIFAX – The province is providing more support for parents and guardians looking for information to help their kids through bullying and cyberbullying issues.
An anti-bullying website was launched Friday that provides information tailored to four audiences: children and youth, parents and guardians, educators and schools, and community. The province is also creating a parent handbook on bullying and cyberbullying that will be distributed to all parents and guardians of children in Nova Scotia's public schools at the start of the new school year.
"As a parent, I look forward to resources that will help parents make informed decisions on bullying intervention and prevention involving their children," said Vanda Dow, parent and president, Nova Scotia Federation of Home and School Associations. "It's very important for parents to be part of the solution so, hopefully, the information shared through the website, parent handbook and other avenues will encourage conversations between parents and schools."
A recent student drug-use survey released by the province revealed that some of the most important issues children face are some of the hardest for them and parents to talk about, reinforcing the need for resources that can help parents start these conversations. The province is also launching a public education campaign to make parents aware of the resources, services and people available to help if their child is struggling.
"Having these resources will be great for parents, great for schools and great for communities," said Gary Walker, principal at Halifax West High School. "Parents need clear, straightforward information to recognize and deal with different types of bullying. A website and handbook will give people options to support the children and teenagers in their lives through difficult situations."
Youth, parents, teachers, community organizations and others will also have an opportunity to learn how they can work together to address bullying in their communities at a leadership and anti-bullying conference held by the province Aug. 15-17 at Mount Saint Vincent University. More details on registration, speakers and sessions will be available in June.
"Parents want to protect their children from bullying, but often they don't know what to look for or where to turn for help," said Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women Marilyn More. "The website, handbook and upcoming conference will provide parents and guardians with practical, research-based information on recognizing and responding to bullying behaviour."
The parent portion of the website includes information on how to recognize and report bullying behaviour, and how to talk to your children about bullying and cyberbullying. It also includes links to organizations and programs that deal with bullying, Internet safety, adolescent mental health and other issues affecting youth. The handbook will include information on causes and types of bullying, how to identify bullying behaviour, how parents can help and where to turn for help in the school system and in the community.
The province's new anti-bullying website is available at www.antibullying.novascotia.ca .