Bullying and Prevention

The TVDSB Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan

At TVDSB, our top priority is the safety and well-being of all students. Bullying can have serious and long-lasting effects on those involved. It can adversely affect student learning, healthy relationships, and overall school climateAll students deserve to learn in a place where they feel safe.  

It is important that all members of TVDSB community understand our Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan to be responsive to our students and families' needs. All TVDSB schools have individualized and detailed Safe and Inclusive School Plans (SISP) to address bullying prevention, which can be found on their school website.

 Bullying Defined by the Ontario Ministry of Education 
Bullying is typically a form of repeated, persistent, and aggressive behaviour directed at an individual or individuals that is intended to cause (or should be known to cause) fear and distress and/or harm to another person’s body, feelings, self-esteem, or reputation. Bullying occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance (2009).

Bullying is an action that:​ 

  • Is targeted towards a specific student or group of students​
  • Involves a power imbalance​ based on real or perceived differences (e.g. strength, age, intelligence, economic status, social status, solidarity of peer group, religion, ethnicity, disability, need for special education, sexual orientation, family circumstances, gender, and race)
  • Has the intention to cause harm​
  • It has occurred on more than one occasion, making it repetitive in nature
  • Can take many forms (e.g. physical, verbal, social, cyber) 

All forms of bullying are taken seriously in the Thames Valley District School Board.

Cyber-bullying is the act of engaging in bullying through electronic means such as social media platforms, email, text or direct messaging, digital gaming and/or communication applications. 

Examples of cyber-bullying may include:  

  • Sending or sharing hateful, insulting, offensive, and/or intimidating electronic communication 
  • Revealing information considered to be personal, private, and sensitive without consent 
  • Making and/or engaging, and/or participating in fake accounts on social networking site to impersonate, humiliate and/or exclude others 
  • Excluding or disrupting access to a student on purpose from online chat groups during digital gaming sessions 

Bullying, including cyber-bullying, may intersect with other forms of sexual exploitation including, but not limited to, sextortion and the non-consensual sharing of intimate images. Traffickers and other sexual predators are increasingly using fake accounts to pose as acquaintances or friends of children and youth to lure, groom and recruit them into engaging in sexual acts or servicesChildren and youth who experience bullying are at increased risk for being sex trafficked. 

 Engaging and Notifying Parents and Families 
All TVDSB students deserve to learn in a place where they feel safe and supported. If students who are bullied, who bully others, or who witness bullying receive the necessary support, they can learn effective strategies for interacting positively with others.

We want to know about incidents of bullying or other safety concerns, and we encourage you to report them as soon as they occur, so that we can address them and act to prevent further incidents from happening.  Speak with a teacher, school staff, or school administration to provide information about the situation.

Some people may not feel comfortable reporting bullying or school safety incidents. To help ease this worry, students and parents can use the Anonymous Reporting Form found on each school website.The information you provide is forwarded to the appropriate school administrator for action. The more detailed this information is, the better we can support you in finding a resolution to the situation. Providing your name will allow for updates on the action taken, but this is not required.

In response to reports of bullying, parents/caregivers can expect the following responses:  

  • That concerns are validated in a supportive way that honours the voice of those reporting bullying 
  • Frequent communication with parents/caregivers at all stages of the investigation before, during and after the investigation has ended 
  • To understand the outcome/results of the investigation 
  • To understand the steps taken to ensure the child(ren) are safe at school 
  • To understand the restorative steps are taken to repair and restore 
  • To understand who to turn to should there be further concerns  

To learn more about what parents/caregivers can expect when reporting incidents of bullying watch Understanding Bullying Prevention in Thames Valley(40mins)


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The Family Well-Being Community Workship Series has recorded virtual webinars related to 
Bullying Prevention and Intervention. 

Cyberbullying is an increasingly growing concern among our youths. This presentation (60mins) will explore the various forms of cyberbullying, the harmful impacts that can result, and how parents and caregivers can help combat this issue. Constable Wilson will discuss the importance of collaborative strategies, emphasizing education, communication and proactive measures to create a safer online environment for our children. 

This video was created during Bullying Prevention and Awareness Week, November 2023. Members of the Safe Schools and Well-Being team highlight the differences between bullying and conflict, pathways you can take if you’re concerned about your child, and prevention strategies that Thames Valley has in place.
Parenting in a Digital Age (Recording coming soon) 

Digital technologies bring many benefits for our kids - but they also introduce new and ever evolving risks and harms. Even if parents are tech savvy, many still feel overwhelmed and unsure how to talk about, monitor, or set boundaries around digital technologies. This talk will get caregivers thinking about: 

  • Young people’s rights and responsibilities in a digital age 

  • What we (don’t) know about young people’s experiences of harm 

  • Relevant tools to help youth, including tech solutions, community resources, and the law 

  • How to have supportive, non-judgmental conversations 

In this presentation series, psychological research findings are used to address some key topics on parents’ and teens’ minds when it comes to social media use including comparing oneself to others, online aggression, and even the algorithms that encourage overuse. Presenters further discuss ways to utilize social media for positive outcomes including to cultivate creativity and social connection. Presenters include upper-year university students, led by Dr. Tara Dumas from the Psychology Department at Huron University

View the Family Well-being Community Workshop Series for more information

Online Resources for Parents/Caregivers

PREVNet LogoPREVNet – Promoting Relationships & Eliminating Violence Network is a Canadian research and knowledge mobilization hub that brings together researchers and national organizations to build research capacityassess youth relationship problems including bullying and dating violence, and promote evidence-based programs and effective policies across Canada to address and reduce youth interpersonal violence and promote healthy relationships​.

There are sections of the website dedicated to support you as parents/caregivers, as well as sections for students and educators.You will find information on risks of bullying, cyberbullying and the role of parents/caregivers in supporting children who are being bullied(harmed) and/or children who are bullying (causing harm).

Media Smarts – is another Canadian non-profit organization and registered charity based in Ottawa, which focuses on digital and media literacy programs and resources. They have an entire section of their website for parents, that is user friendly and gives you the ability to search for information/resources by a wide variety of topics, including resources on – cyberbullying and healthy online behaviour​.

SMHO-SMSO LogoSchool Mental Health Ontario has many resources, including a Video Series for Parents and Caregivers.To find out about resources available to Ontario parents and caregivers and learn key facts about children’s mental health.

View the School Mental Health Ontario By Your Side Video Series
All educators in TVDSB schools are encouraged to use these online resources to support them in addressing bullying awareness and prevention conversations at school.

Prevention and Awareness Raising 

The Essential Conditions for Learning
A positive school climate exists when all members of the school community feel safe, included, and accepted. This is why establishing the Essential Conditions for Learning is one of Thames Valley’s prevention strategies against bullying. When students feel safe and connected to staff, their peers, the curriculum, and their school, they are better able to regulate, learn, and interact with others in healthy ways. All of which supports their mental health and overall well-being.

How the Essential Conditions for Learning Helps Prevent Bullying

  • All schools in Thames Valley start the year with a focus on relationship building during the first three days (e.g. Get-to-know-me activities, community circles, cooperative games) and continue to prioritize relationships throughout entire year.
  • These relationships help foster a sense of community, which is a form bullying prevention. 


  • Explicit lessons about safety are taught and this helps students to understand that everyone deserves to feel: 

  • Safe TO: be their authentic selves, take risks and make mistakes, and ask questions. 

  • Safe FROM: harm, harassment, racism, discrimination, bullying, etc. 

  • Classroom agreements are co-created with students. 

  • This helps all members of a class or school community understand the expectations and have a say in what they need in order to do their best learning. 


  • School staff regularly find moments to connect and check-in with students. 

  • This allows staff to notice changes in behaviour and provides opportunities for students to share concerns when they arise.  


  • Students are given the opportunity to practice a variety of regulation strategies that promote calm and help manage stress levels. School staff also help students to co-regulate by sharing their calm. 

  • When students are regulated, they are able to make good decisions and participate in healthy relationships.  


  • Educators intentionally reflect on teaching materials to ensure that all students’ identities are affirmed (e.g.diverse books, welcome signs in multiple languages, family photos displayed in a classroom). 

  • When students learn about diverse identities, cultures, and beliefs, they develop positive attitudes towards differences, and are able to respect and celebrate others in healthy ways. 

To learn more about the Essential Conditions for Learning watch the video series Supporting Every Student’s Mental Health, Well-Being and Achievement

Safe and Inclusive School Plans

All Thames Valley schools have a Safe and Inclusive School Plan in place to prevent bullying and promote a positive school climate and culture. This is sometimes referred to as the (SISP). This plan replaces the former Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan (BPIP), and the Safe and Accepting School Plan.​ It is completed annually by every elementary and secondary school in our board and outlines the school’s commitment to improve school culture.

This important work is facilitated at the school-level by a school-based team. This team is composed of students, family members, teachers, support staff, community partners, and the principal and/or vice principal. These plans include two parts – one is the school goals, and the other is home and school connections.

SISP school goals and community connections are developed based on ongoing data collection and reflection of individual school needs. School administrators and staff can access support in developing their Safe and Inclusive School Plans through their Safe School and Well-Being implementation coachesThese plans are completed annually, posted on the school websites, and monitored by school superintendents. Information about each SISPis gathered and used to further inform the system.

To find out more about your school’s SISP plan visit your school’s website - Safe Schools and/or reach out to your school administration about how you become a member of the team.

Restorative Practices 

Restorative Practices is an emerging social science that studies how to strengthen relationships between individuals, as well as social connections within school communities. TVDSB staff have embraced the restorative mindset by participating in ongoing professional development focused on learning foundational practices for building classroom and school community.

The following video, created by the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) provides and overview of what Restorative Practices means. 

Restorative Practices: 

  • Create just, equitable, and inclusive learning environments 

  • Nurture healthy relationships and give everyone voice 

  • Require us to work with students, caregivers, and each other 

  • Require the use of Affective/Restorative questioning 

  • Repair harm and transform conflict 

  • Are 80% proactive strategies (e.g., Conversations and Community Circles​) 

Bullying Prevention and Awareness Week 

Every November, the Thames Valley District School Board recognizes Bullying Prevention and Awareness Week in Ontario. This week is an opportunity for students, school staff, and families to learn more about bullying, its effects on student learning, and how we can all help stop it. We know that fostering safe and positive learning environments is everyone's responsibility.

Schools use this week to focus on school-wide initiatives that centre student voice, encourage kindness, and promote awareness. This might look like school wide assemblies, kindness walls, social media campaigns that promote kindness #TVDSBkind. We know that fostering safe and positive learning environments is everyone's responsibility.

Understanding Bias-Aware Progressive Discipline, Suspension, and Expulsion 

Principals must weigh a variety of factors when making decisions related to bullying: progressive discipline, mitigating factors and human rights.

Bias-aware progressive discipline provides an opportunity to support, teach, and build a positive learning community where relationships matterWhen student behaviour is inappropriate, hurtful, and/or does harm to member(s) of a school community, it is important that consequences fit the circumstances and the students involved. While suspension is one option, and may be considered in some circumstances, schools foster a school climate of safety, community, and high expectations when a wide range of meaningful options are available. Holding students accountable for their actions, while giving them opportunities to restore relationships and repair harm are an important part of the process.

Progressive Discipline might look like: 

  • An apology for a hurtful or disrespectful comment 

  • A review of the expectations for the student(s) 

  • A meeting with parent(s) or caregiver(s) 

  • Anger management counselling 

  • Suspending the student from school 

Mitigating factors 

When making decision related to progressive discipline, principals must also consider something called mitigating factors. These are factors that add complexity and nuance to the decision making, which can impact the outcome for those involved. The ministry of education defines mitigating factors as: 

  • The student does not have the ability to control the behaviour 

  • The student does not have the ability to understand the foreseeable consequences of their behaviour 

  • The student’s continuing presence in the school does not create an unacceptable risk to the safety of any person  

Ontario Human Rights 

Every person with the Thames Valley community has the right to work and learn in a safe and inclusive environment, free from all forms of discrimination and harassment, which protects, promotes, and supports human rights.
The Ontario Human Rights Code outlines 17 protected grounds that apply to all of our Thames Valley system 

  • Race 

  • Ancestry

  • Ethnic Origin

  • Religion/Creed

  • Disability

  • Sex

  • Record of Offences

  • Place or Origin

  • Citizenship

  • Receipt of Public Assistance

  • Sexual Orientation

  • Colour

  • Family Status

  • Marital Status

  • Age

  • Gender Identity

  • Gender Expression 

Bullying that targets a student based on a Code-protected aspect of their identity is harassment. Harassment is a form of discrimination.

When Human Rights are a component of bullying, there are additional responsibilities at the school level.

Given the beautiful diversity of Thames Valley, it is important to note that each of the protected grounds are treated equally. There is no hierarchy amongst the protected grounds.

Sometimes we encounter situations where there are competing rights, or conflict amongst the protected grounds. Given the complexity of these situations, Thames Valley staff consult with our Human Rights Equity Office and their team to ensure that dignity and rights are upheld, for all involved.

If students or families have concerns as it relates to Human Rights, they are also able to reach out to the Human Rights Equity Office. 

Supporting Student Mental Health 

Bullying has the potential to: 

  • Negatively affect students’ learning, attendance, safety/sense of safety, sense of self-worth and overall mental health and well-being 

  • Students who experience bullying may suffer from headaches, stomach aches and low self-esteem  

  • They may want to avoid school, risking their academic performance and increasing their isolation

  • Children who are bullied are at higher risk of depression

  • Children spend a significant amount of their time at school, and experiencing bullying may not end when the school day is finished especially with the existence of social media

  • Prolonged exposure to stress can have an impact on overall sense of wellbeing, both mentally and physically 

Students causing harm are also sending the message that a need is not being met. It is important that we approach bullying behaviour with curiosity as to what this child needs – which could include mental health supports.

There are mental health professionals in our buildings that your child can access such as a School Support CounsellorFirst Nations, Metis, Inuit Counsellor, or a Social Worker. As well, caring adults at the school can also direct you to community resources that can help.

TVDSB mental health crisis Resources (PDF)

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Additional Information

TVDSB Safe Schools Procedure 
Policy/Policy/Program Memorandum 145
Program Memorandum 144 
Policy/Program Memorandum 128 

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