Currently, there are no AODA education standards. However, two AODA standards development committees have drafted recommendations of guidelines that AODA education standards should include. One committee has recommended guidelines for the kindergarten to grade twelve (K-12) education system. In this article, we outline recommendations for workshops to stop bullying in school.
The committee’s mandate from the Ontario government requires recommendations focused on the publicly-funded K-12 school system. However, students and educators with disabilities also face barriers in other school settings, including:
- Private schools
- Pre-school programs, such as early literacy programs
Therefore, all these settings should comply with the forthcoming K-12 education standards.
Workshops to Stop Bullying in School
The Committee recognizes that students with disabilities are often socially isolated from their peers without disabilities. This isolation may be due to accessibility barriers, such as:
In addition to these social barriers, many students with disabilities experience bullying. Bullying means hurting or humiliating another person whom the bully perceives to be weaker. Since bullies hurt others because of these differences, bullying is a form of discrimination. While some bullying happens face-to-face, other bullying, called cyberbullying, happens online. In other words, students may experience bullying in school whether they are learning in-person or remotely.
All members of every school community need to recognize, and commit to preventing, all forms of bullying. As a result, the Committee recommends that school boards develop and deliver anti-bullying workshops targeted at all members of school communities, such as:
- Other school staff
- Parents and other family members
These workshops should explain what bullying and cyberbullying are, as well as how any form of bullying affects mental health and physical health. Groups of peers with and without disabilities should be involved in designing and delivering the workshops.