LBPSB Peaceful Schools Challenged

Peaceful schools

Over the past two weeks, two separate families have contacted us because their children were the targets of vicious bullying incidents.

In one case, a mother turned to the Hudson/St. Lazare Gazette, claiming her son was, and continues to be, the target of gratuitous violence at Westwood Junior High School. Her description of the repeated incidents portrays the kind of systemic, mean-spirited bullying that comes when kids sense they can get away with beating on someone smaller and more defenceless than them.

In the second case, the bullying took the form of a violent physical assault which, if committed by an adult, would result in criminal charges and a record if the perpetrator is found guilty. In this case, a criminal charge has been filed with the Sûreté du Québec.

We’ve attempted to get both sides of both stories, with little success. The Lester B. Pearson School Board is adept at invoking personal-privacy clauses to avoid having to provide details. So we’re running the mother’s account. We know her identity and believe her to be telling the truth. People don’t usually make these things up.

As for the second incident, the assailant will either learn a valuable lesson or become one of those men who beats up on women or dies in a bar fight.

Let’s focus on the Lester B. Pearson School Board. Is this the same board that had its chairman’s photo in a West Island rag last week, posing with the founder of the Peaceful Schools movement? Was this the same board that accepted a citation for its part in controlling bullying?

It’s not by downplaying and covering up these incidents that we learn how to make our schools places of learning. It’s by admitting there’s a problem, then acting swiftly and decisively, as did Westwood Senior principal Alana Quinn-Leroux during last February’s firearm incident.

The expression we hear most often from educators is that each of these cases is an “isolated incident.” Yes, they are all isolated, but when they’re strung together, we see a systemic bullying problem. Portraying bullying as a bunch of isolated problems is an easy way to do nothing about it. Either the LBPSB deals with bullying the way it says it does, or it should reconsider its Peaceful Schools award from a mother who lost her son to bullying.

Hudson/St Lazare Gazette Editorial
June 03, 2009

3 Comments on "LBPSB Peaceful Schools Challenged"

  1. Why are people afraid to sign their name on a letter to the editor of the Hudson/St Lazare Gazette? Says plenty about the perceived or real retaliation practices of the LBPSB. Could they be the bullies towards parents rights?

  2. Getting both sides

    The latest edition (June 3) had a lot of coverage about bullying. The first thing I read was the “Ban the bullies” letter and my reaction was how can this be happening? Can this be true? Coincidentally my son and one of his classmates (Westwood Jr. students) were at home working on a school project, so I gave them the outline of the letter, and asked them if they knew anything about it. It didn’t take them long to figure out who the letter was about nor to tell me “the other side” of the story.
    It seems that the “victim” of this bullying is not above bullying himself; arm twisting, name calling/taunting. But where does one story stop and the other start? I admit to being a little surprised by the some of the terms which my son and his classmate used to describe the victim and quickly pointed out that just because someone is different doesn’t mean you can discriminate against them.
    As for the action taken by the school, based on the statements made in the letter, and your editorial, they would appear to be soft. However, before we be too quick to judge anyone of the players in this story, we should have all the facts or both sides of the story. Unfortunately, and understandably, all the necessary information to make an informed opinion is unlikely to come out publically. But our children seem to know it a good part of it.
    I’m not condoning the acts of bullying that have happened here nor in the other incidents discussed in the June 3 edition. Nor am I condoning what may have been acts of revenge or retaliation. What I would suggest, and this is nothing new, is that as parents we should be asking our children about their daily lives and stay in touch with what they are doing. Our children need to be able coming to us to discuss things that make them uncomfortable. We may not want to hear some of it, but better we be aware of it than for it to be going on behind our backs. If we know what is going on, then at least it can be addressed.
    NVD – name witheld upon request

  3. Bullying exists

    I am a student at Westwood Junior and after reading the article, “Bullying raises questions of just punishment,” I felt that I needed to write about this issue as well. Being student in Westwood Junior, I see and experience everyday acts of bullying, aggression and emotional and physical abuse between students. In my opinion the situation has lost complete control.
    I see it outside, I see it in the cafeteria, I see it in the hallways but worst of all I see it and feel it in the classrooms! I have seen students carrying knifes, switchblades, alcohol, drugs and lighters in school. I feel as if the teachers turn their heads away and don’t react even and worst of all in their classrooms! It seems as if they only intervene when the situation has gotten extremely physical and completely out of control. I wonder why it has to get to this point before something is done and an adult steps in. It doesn’t seem to me that there is any fit punishments or consequences for this type of behavior.
    For example, just last week a student was brutally beaten in the hallway and the only punishment given was one day suspension from school. This is more of a gift to a bully than a punishment. Do they really think that this will stop the bully from doing this again? Kids who behave this way are so confident that there will be no severe consequences that they will beat up anyone for any reason and call it “fun.” I think that students should be able to go to school without the fear of being physically and emotionally abused, it should be a good experience and not a terrifying one!
    In this article Mr. Bulow comments on having lunch with 240 honor role students and he says that “the school is doing incredibly well,” but this doesn’t explain why the bullying is allowed to continue and goes unjustly punished. Even some of the honor role students are bullies themselves and having an 80 percent average does not excuse bad behavior! This does not make Westwood Junior a safe place from bullies and does not excuse the acts of violence and abuse that happen there on a daily basis. In my opinion the only solution is that Mr. Bulow and the teachers at Westwood Junior need to enforce severe consequences for this type of behavior. The punishments must fit the crimes!
    A Westwood Junior student, written with mother

    Source: Hudson/St Lazare Gazette

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