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Bullying still a ‘systemic’ issue at St. Michael’s College School: report

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St. Michael's College

TORONTO — Bullying continues to be a “systemic” issue at a private Toronto school rocked by allegations of sexual assault despite measures introduced in the wake of the scandal, says a report that examined culture at the all-boys Catholic institution.

The report released Thursday from an independent committee found no significant change in rates of student bullying and victimization at St. Michael’s College School, where seven students were charged last fall in connection with alleged incidents that took place on campus.

“Bullying and other demeaning behaviour do represent a systemic issue at the school, albeit in numbers comparable to the experiences of children of similar age across the country,” the committee wrote. “We can do so much better.”

The school made headlines in November as police investigated an alleged sexual assault recorded on video and shared on social media. Investigators eventually laid charges in two alleged sexual assaults and one assault, all involving one of the institution’s football teams.

The scandal triggered a national conversation on bullying and how it is dealt with in schools. St Michael’s tasked the committee with the review shortly after.

“There are two realities at Saint Michael’s College School. For many students, past and current, the school has represented the very best in schooling,” the committee wrote. “For others, the school failed to ensure that they felt safe and secure or fully included.”

The sweeping 123-page report — titled “A Time for Renewal” — offered 36 recommendations, including developing a comprehensive strategy to address bullying and robust staff training to deal with the issue.

The school said it is committed to adopting the recommendations.

“We are deeply concerned that bullying is a systemic issue,” school president Rev. Andrew Leung said in a statement. “Our goal remains unwavering — to ensure the safety and well-being of our students.”

The committee found bullying is a school-wide problem. That conclusion was supported by the findings from surveys of current students, alumni, staff, former staff and parents.

Those found that 206 boys — about one in five students — reported they had been bullied during their time at school.

“It hasn’t really changed,” one student wrote.

“Fix this bullying issue now and stop being neglectful and lazy,” another wrote.

Surveys found the number of students who reported witnessing bullying went down from last fall to this spring, the committee said, suggesting bullying may have become more covert.

Of those who were bullied, 70 boys said the bullying lasted a year or longer. Fifty-four boys reported being “sexually bullied.”

The committee also found 88 students “reported that they had been bullied because of their race or religion.” And three out of four bullied boys reported subsequent mental health issues that included anger, sadness, difficulties at school, and feeling helpless.

“This chronic bullying may be explained by the school’s inability to fully identify and effectively address bullying,” the committee said.

While bullying was clearly a problem, the committee found hazing was not an issue, although it did exist. The committee said it wanted the school to stamp out mild forms of initiation because it is demeaning.

The committee recommended the school write or rewrite a number of policies, codes of conduct and student handbooks that can be easily accessed by students, teachers, coaches and parents.

It also recommended the school hire more women as teachers, staff and in leadership roles.

“In the context of an all-boys school — especially where hyper or toxic masculinity has been identified as an issue to be mindful of, female teachers and administrators provide much needed perspective,” it wrote.

Seven students were eventually charged last fall with offences that included sexual assault with a weapon, gang sexual assault and assault for three incidents involving members of one of the school’s football teams. The charges against one have since been dropped.

Two police sources have said one of the alleged incidents involved a group of students on a football team pinning down another student and allegedly sexually assaulting him with a broom handle.

The report offered further details on what allegedly happened.

It said the school received a video on Nov. 12 that “appeared to show a sexual assault involving a group of boys.” Around noon the next day, staff identified those in the video as students at the school. On Nov. 14, the school told police about the alleged sex assault.

The committee said the school should have reported criminal allegations to police as soon as it became aware of them, rather than wait 36 hours to allow the alleged victim to discuss the issue with his mother who was out of town. It suggested the school develop protocols with police on how to deal with alleged criminal acts.

The report also said an alleged assault on Sept. 18 involved students allegedly “striking a student on the buttocks with a broom stick.”

Four of the students charged were expelled, while the other three withdrew from the school in the wake of the allegations that came to light. Four other students were also expelled.

The school’s top two administrators also resigned and several sports teams’ seasons were cancelled.

Liam Casey , The Canadian Press

Education

Listen: Dan Sutton of Tantalus Labs is committed to advancing the frontier of cannabis

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It was a pleasure to speak with Tantalus Labs CEO and Founder Dan Sutton this week. He has a great back story, is crushing it in BC and doesn’t take himself too seriously.

We had a wide ranging conversation about what they are doing in the Fraser Valley, as well as what’s going on across the industry and how social media plays a roll in the cannabis space. We also dove into terpenes and Dan revealed the lineage of Serratus!!!

Chris Ianson and I discussed Mango from Canaca, a nice sweet treat. Joints and joint nicknames were discussed in this episode. As always you can get 50% off a DNA Kit from Lobo Genetics, listen for the promo code.

 

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Kipp Scott’s Top 7 Winter Car Care Tips

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Getting your winter tires put on is something we generally think about as a way to prepare our vehicle for winter weather but is that the only thing you can do to avoid being in an accident this winter?

Here are 7 tips to help you keep your vehicle in top-notch condition this winter:

1. Make sure you check your wiper blades. Wiper blades usually have a lifespan of a year; however, it is always recommended to get a new pair for the winter months.

2. Check your battery. Batteries have a harder time operating during the winter months than they do during the summer. If your battery is already weak during the summer, it could quickly could turn into a dead battery as soon as the temperature drops.

3. We put antifreeze in our cars for two reasons – one is to keep the engine from overheating and the other is to protect the engine block from cracking during extreme cold.

4. For every 10 degrees of temperature drop, tires will drop 1-2 pounds of pressure. It is important to keep your tires within the recommended PSI to maintain traction, handling and durability.

5. Wax the Headlights and the Taillights! Unnecessary little detail? Think again. Did you know that the slippery surface which results after waxing the lights makes it less likely for an icy coat to build up on them? This helps make it easier and quicker for you to clear your car after a night-long snowstorm and, also makes your vehicle more visible to other drivers.

6. Windshields get dirty very quickly on those wet wintery roads and you can go through fluid very fast. Make sure you top it up regularly and have an extra jug on hand, in case you run out.

7. Use full synthetic oil. Synthetic motor oil’s main reason for working so well in the winter is because of its abilities to withstand the extreme temperatures. The chemical makeup of synthetic oil makes it much less likely to congeal or freeze up.

Our highly qualified technicians are always happy to provide you with exceptional service in a timely manner. Allow them to demonstrate our commitment to excellence –

Call to book 403.343.6633 or book your appointment at kippscott.ca

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december, 2019

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