Your School. Your Voice.

Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week: November 20-26

Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week is an opportunity for students, staff, families, and community members to come together in solidarity against bullying in all forms, and say unequivocally that "Bullying is not okay."

More than ever, it is important for you to use your voice to stop bullying from happening. You can make a difference by speaking to your teacher, school staff, your principal or another trusted adult.

How to Use Your Voice

Hear Something - See Something - Do Something

If you or someone you know is experiencing bullying, there are many ways you can use your voice to help stop the situation. 

  • Notify your Teacher, school staff or your Principal
  • Speak to your school's Guidance Counsellor, Psychologist, Support Counsellor
  • Talk to a trusted adult or family and caregivers
  • Use the TVDSB Cares Anonymous Reporting Form
Conflict vs. Bullying

Conflict and bullying are different. Despite this difference, bullying and conflict can be experienced at the same time. It is important to understand the difference because conflict between students does not always involve bullying.

Conflict occurs between people who have a disagreement, a difference of opinion, or different views. When there is conflict, each person feels comfortable expressing their views to settle their differences and come to a resolution. On the other hand, bullying is aggressive behaviour that is often repeated over time and happens when there is a real or perceived power imbalance. It is meant to cause harm, fear, distress, or create a negative environment for another person.

There can be a progression from conflict to bullying. Consider:  

  • Children learn at a young age that others can have different perspectives than their own. This awareness continues to develop into early adulthood;
  • Working through conflict towards a mutual resolution is a natural part of growing up;
  • The way people deal with conflict can make it a positive or negative experience;
  • Reaching a mutually agreeable resolution is a positive outcome of conflict;
  • Conflict becomes negative when a person behaves aggressively and says or does hurtful things;  
  • Over time, a pattern of behaviour can emerge where the person who behaves aggressively in the conflict may continue or even make it worse;
  • The person who is on the receiving end of the aggressive conflict may begin to feel less able to express their point of view and experience a sense of powerlessness; and
  • That is when negative conflict can turn into bullying.

Understanding Conflict vs. Bullying

Interested in helping your child understand the difference between conflict, rude and mean behaviours, or bullying? Check out and refer to this quick reference guide to support a conversation with your child.

View the "Is It Bullying?" Quick Reference Guide

Click here for an accessible/translatable version

Conflict is:

  • Occasional;
  • Not planned; in the heat of the moment;
  • All parties are upset;
  • All parties want to work things out;
  • All parties will accept responsibility;
  • An effort is made by all parties to solve the problem; and
  • Can be resolved through mediation

Rude is:

  • Occasional;
  • Spontaneous: Unintentional;
  • Can cause hurt feelings; Upset;
  • Based in thoughtlessness, poor manners or narcissism;
  • Rude person accepts responsibility; and
  • Social skill building could be of benefit

Mean is:

  • Once or Twice;
  • Intentional;
  • Can hurt others deeply;
  • Based in anger; Impulsive cruelty;
  • Behaviour often regretted; and
  • Needs to be addressed/should NOT be ignored

Bullying is:

  • Is planned and done on purpose;
  • The target of the bullying is upset;
  • The bully is trying to gain control over the target;
  • The bully blames the target;
  • The target wants to stop the bully’s behaviour, the bully does not; and
  • Cannot be resolved through mediation

Understanding Teasing vs. Bullying
Determining the difference between teasing and bullying can be challenging at times. This resource helps in telling the difference between the two. Check out the following resource, including the tip sheet which is linked at the bottom of the resource page.

Problem-Solving Conflict 'Universal Way of Addressing Concern' - Stop It - Name It - Explain It - Ask for Change
This resource can be introduced and implemented in home environments in order to support problem solving situations. This four-step model requires extensive modelling and revisiting to ensure proper understanding and establish an adequate comfort level for your child. This model can be implemented across all age levels, including Kindergarten to Grade 12. When sharing this strategy with your child, it is important to communicate that this process should only be used if your child is feeling safe to do so.

View the "Speak Up: The Universal Way of Addressing Concern" Guide

Click here for an accessible/translatable version

Speak Up: Universal Way of Addressing Concern

Stop it

  • Stop/Address the behaviour

Name it

  • Describe the behaviour (e.g., racist, sexist, homophobic)

Explain it

  • Explain why the behaviour is inappropriate/hurtful

Ask for Change

  • Ask for a change in behaviour, discuss other appropriate words or actions to use

Additional Resources About Bullying:

Common Myths About Bullying

Myth: Students must learn to stand up for themselves
Reality: Students need help with problem-solving & bullying

Myth: Students should hit back - only harder
Reality: Students should be taught nonviolent solutions

Myth: Bullying builds character
Reality: Bullying lowers self-esteem, self-concept, and trust

Myth: Words can never hurt you
Reality: Name-calling can leave permanent scars

Myth: That's not bullying, it's just teasing
Reality: Vicious taunting hurts and should be stopped

Myth: There have always been, and will be, bullies
Reality: We must work together to put an end to bullying

Myth: Kids will be kids
Reality: Bullying behaviour is learned and can be unlearned

 Crisis Support Lines

Vanier Children’s Mental Health: Tandem (Formerly Crisis Intake Team – CIT)
-0-18 years and caregivers

(519) 433-0334 (London/Middlesex),

Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Services

(519)433-2023 or 1-866-933-2023, for web chat access


Kids Help Phone 
1-800-668-6868, text CONNECT to 686868, web chat at
Text: 686868 (youth) or 741741 (adults)
Call: 1-800-668-6868
**Indigenous people can connect with an Indigenous crisis responder when available by messaging FIRST NATIONS, INUIT, or METIS over text or messenger.**

If there is a safety emergency, or bullying or harassment of student(s) is happening in the community outside of school hours, please reach out to your local police services for assistance.

  • London Police: (519) 661-5670
  • St. Thomas Police: (519) 631-1224
  • Woodstock Police: (519) 537-2323
  • Oxford County OPP: (519) 688-6540
  • Elgin County OPP: (519) 631-2920
 Non-Crisis Support Lines

Black Youth Helpline: 
1-833-294-8650; 9:00 am to 10:00 pm everyday,

Tandem (formerly CIT/Crisis & Intake):
(519)433-0334  for 24/7 crisis calls + scheduled phone or video appointments for children/youth/families

Hope For Wellness (24/7 Indigenous Helpline): ​​​​
1-855-242-3310, for web chat access (offers immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples across Canada, services available in English, French, Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut)

Naseeha: ​​
(provides a confidential helpline for young Muslims to receive immediate, anonymous, and confidential support over the phone from 12pm – 12am, 7 days a week)

YouthLine: ​​
1-800-268-9688 (phone), 647-694-4275 (text), (live chat) - (offers confidential and non-judgemental peer support for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth through telephone, text and chat services. Get in touch with a peer support volunteer from Sunday to Friday, 4:00PM to 9:30 PM.)

Important Information for Staff: CULTURAL SAFETY

It is important to create a learning environment that is respectful and that makes students feel safe and comfortable not only physically, socially, and emotionally, but also in terms of their cultural heritage. A culturally safe learning environment is one in which students feel comfortable about expressing their ideas, opinions, and needs and about responding authentically to topics that may be culturally sensitive.

Staff should be aware that some students may experience emotional reactions when learning about issues that have affected their own lives, their family, and/or their community.

Before addressing such topics in the classroom, teachers need to consider how to prepare and debrief students, and they need to ensure that resources are available to support students both inside and outside the classroom.

Students can also experience strong emotional reactions when learning about the adversity and challenges faced by others.

There may be students who express the wish or need to opt out of the learning.

If students are demonstrating a negative reaction to classroom content, staff are encouraged to:

  1. Discreetly touch base with the student and assess their emotional response;
  2. Connect the child with the administrator, LST or school support counsellor (if needed)

Important Reminder For Staff Before Discussing Student Identity:


  • Done privately, after the fact;
  • Invites a conversation and creates understanding;
  • A chance to explain why the behaviour/language was inappropriate and what changes can be made;
  • Can be difficult, but ultimately enlightening;
  • Helps someone shift their perspective;
  • Depends on your social influence and relationship; and
  • Takes energy and patience.

How it might sound:

“Hey, can we chat about what happened during the presentation? It’s about…”



  • Done publicly, in the moment; 
  • Stops problem behaviour immediately;
  • Demonstrates that certain behaviour/language is never acceptable;
  • Can be shaming, isolating, and punishing;
  • Might push someone into an insincere apology;
  • Depends on your position / authority;
  • Takes energy

How it might sound:

“There will be no Islamophobic remarks here!”


People Who Used Their Voice to Create Change

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg is a young climate activist who used her voice to help amplify the urgency of the global climate crisis. She has spoken at climate rallies worldwide and in 2019 gave a speech to the United Nations about the need for decision-makers around the world to commit to meaningful climate change action plans. Greta continues to advocate for the climate movement, but has also recently spoken about the need for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines across the world.

Malala Yousafzai



Malala Yousafzai was only 15 years old when she was shot by the Taliban for speaking out against a ban on education for girls. She survived the attack and has since become a role model for women across the globe. Malala has devoted her life to being a strong voice in the fight to ensure equitable access to education for all.

Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir

Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir

From a young age, Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir knew she wanted basketball to be a part of her life. After first picking up a ball at the age of four at a local YMCA, Bilqis’ love for the game began. Living in a practicing Muslim household, Bilqis was to follow her religious beliefs as she grew older. She began wearing a hijab, a traditional head covering for Muslim women, and practiced modesty on the court by covering all skin except her hands.

Her goal was to continue playing professionally in Europe, but quickly ended due to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) rule prohibiting head gear larger than five inches. Unwilling to stray in her beliefs, Bilqis chose faith over basketball and advocated for Muslim women and girls in sport. After earning her master’s degree in May 2015 at Indiana State, Bilqis sought to inspire young Muslim women through sport as an instructor and motivational speaker. In May 2017, FIBA overturned the hijab ban. Bilqis continues to use her voice for equality and acceptance in sport.

Sophie Cruz

Sophie Cruz

Sophie Cruz may be one of the youngest people to use their voice to stand up against injustice in the world. At the age of five, she wrote a letter to the Pope because she was worried about being separated from her parents - undocumented migrants living in the USA. Sophie begged the Pope not to forget “about us the children, or about those who suffer because they’re not with their parents because of war, because of violence, because of hunger.” She has since been invited to speak at the Washington Women’s March and delivered a speech to thousands of people in Spanish and English. She continues to inspire people around the world and educate them about immigration.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream that all men and woman could be viewed as equals, regardless of the colour of their skin. He used his voice so effectively, that he quickly attracted national attention during a protest in Alabama in 1955. Over the next decade, Dr. King organized and spoke at non-violent protests and demonstrations to draw attention to racial discrimination and call for civil rights legislation. In 19963 during a demonstration in Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech to over 250,000 people. The movement that he created was so powerful that in 1964, the United States Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act. Dr. King was honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize and posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


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