Framework

In 2005, the Auditor General of Quebec became interested in the phenomenon of violence in schools and made recommendations to the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS) and school boards. He notably recommended that they develop a more accurate outline of the current situation of violence in schools, implement efficient intervention protocols and evaluate these practices.

In 2008, the MELS launched its three-year action plan to prevent and address violence in schools called “Violence in the schools: Let’s work on it together!” Many measures were presented, including hiring regional support officers, creating regional resource groups with stakeholders from the educational field and partners of the schools and school boards, organizing support services to foster the reintegration of suspended or expelled students and foster the implementation of effective means in order to act early, and establishing a reporting system to provide an overview of the situation by listing any manifestations of violence observed in Quebec schools and school boards.

Since 2008, the action plan team has been working in close collaboration with school boards to implement regional intervention plans in schools. This effort has aimed to support, develop and train school teams for school boards to adopt practices that research has proven efficient.

In 2012, the Government Strategy Against Bullying and Violence in the Schools was launched. This strategy translates into four components: mobilization, communication, legislation and action.

  

 

Bill 56: An Act to prevent and deal with bullying and violence in schools makes amendments the Education Act and sets out the duties and responsibilities of students, school administrators, governing board, parents, school boards and student ombudsman.

  • The main message in the bill is that We must act!
  • A mutual understanding of bullying and violence
  • A sharing of obligations and responsibilities
  • The commitment of all involved stakeholders and partners associated with schools
  • Efficient prevention and intervention measures to deal with bullying and violence

The Education Act provides the following definitions of violence and bullying:

Violence: Any intentional demonstration of verbal, written, physical, psychological or sexual force which causes distress and injures, hurts or oppresses a person by attacking their psychological or physical integrity or well-being, or their rights or property.

Bullying: Any repeated direct or indirect behaviour, comment, act or gesture, whether deliberate or not, including in cyberspace, which occurs in a context where there is a power imbalance between the persons concerned and which causes distress and injures, hurts, oppresses, intimidates or ostracizes.

The bill requires all schools to develop and obtain approval for a plan to prevent and deal with all forms of bullying and violence.