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The Launch of Safe@School Phase 4!

Rian McLaughlin

Cover of the book Creating Safe Schools – A Bullying Prevention  Guide for TeachersCreating Safe Schools – A Bullying Prevention  Guide for Teachers

“With the support of the Equity and Inclusive Education Branch and Safe Schools Division of the Ministry of Education, OTF and COPA (the Centre ontarien de prevention des aggressions) have closely collaborated for over 6 years, in 4 highly productive phases, to create, enhance and manage the innovative and highly successful Safe@School initiative.  Designed to provide support to publicly-funded communities, in both Francophone and Anglophone sectors, the Safe@School initiative has assisted literally thousands of teachers, education workers, students, parents and others move toward creating equitable and inclusive classrooms and schools and healthy school environments across Ontario” says Lindy Amato, Director of Professional Affairs at OTF.

Safe@School Phase 1 saw the creation and development of a popular website,, which included professional learning modules for teachers and access to resources including 2 films about bullying.  As well, planning began for whole school programming that could be delivered in both official languages.  Phase 2 provided a significant expansion of the website and the resource modules for teachers and education workers.  Posters, pins, and guide books were distributed to every public school in Ontario to raise awareness of the issues.  Especially poignant, the film Hear Me Out, which focused on racism, homophobia, and gender-based violence was debuted along with the follow p, creative expression website,  As work progressed towards completion of Phase 3, student and staff leaders from across the province were engaged in the implementation of an equity and inclusion program called Allies in Action.  From this sprung the creation and piloting of student-led, community-based student engagement projects.  And now, Phase 4!  In a sense, Phase 4 is culmination of previous work all drawn together by a new toolkit that includes all the previous films, literature, resources, and a brand new guidebook, Creating Safe Schools – A Bullying Prevention Guide for Teachers.

As I have examined this new resource, I continue to be inspired by the Safe@School Project in all of its phases.  The new guidebook can be used by all teachers regardless of their particular assignment.  It is written in a clearly accessible way with many practical strategies to not only engage students, but also colleagues and school communities.  The chapters address the common myths surrounding bullying and provide exercises, project ideas, tip sheets, and reference and resource materials to recognize and address situations of bullying and build healthy and positive relationships and perspectives for all concerned.  The guide conveniently distinguishes between elementary and secondary classrooms with all of its materials so that its contents can be applied to any classroom or school environment.

Safe@School, in all of its previous phases, has garnered high praise from  many agencies including the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, the Ontario and Northwest Territories Human Rights Commissions, the International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care, France’s National Parents’ Association, numerous Faculties of Education, other federations, and numerous non-governmental agencies in Ontario and beyond.   With what I’ve seen so far, Phase 4 will only enhance the regard in which this multi-year, multi-faceted project is held by all who have seen its pieces and worked within its philosophy.

I have acquired 4 copies of Creating Safe Schools   A Bullying Prevention Guide for Teachers published this year by OTF and COPA to give away for free!  To win one, you will need to be among the first 4 email respondents to and answer this skill testing question:  On the website, it boasts that “Everyone has the right __________”.


Rian McLaughlin is the OTF Table Officer for ETFO.