Monthly Archives: December, 2019

Elite Vancouver private school failed to stop student bullying, says B.C. Supreme Court claim

Elite Vancouver private school failed to stop student bullying, says B.C. Supreme Court claim

December 19th, 2019 Respect in School

Former Crofton House student became suicidal, parents allege, after incessant bullying from other students

Vancouver restaurateurs Natalie and Uwe Boll have filed a civil claim against an exclusive private girls schools alleging the bullying their 13-year-old daughter endured at Crofton House drove her to develop suicidal and self harming behaviour.

Natalie Boll told CBC News her daughter is no longer at the school.

“She went from this little girl who loves Harry Potter and who’s kind of quirky to absolutely broken and lost,” said Boll.

In a statement, Ena Harrop, head of Crofton House, said the school “does not agree with the characterizations of the events as portrayed in the lawsuit and will provide a robust legal defence of the allegations.”

Natalie Boll, whose daughter attended Crofton House School, is pictured at her home in Vancouver, British Columbia on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The documents filed in B.C. Supreme Court allege a student at the school — identified as the “Crofton Student” — started making disparaging and racist remarks to the daughter when the girls were both in Grade 6, telling her things like she should get plastic surgery to look more white.

According to the claim, the Crofton Student had gained direct admission to the school without having to undergo entrance interviews. She often bragged that her mother was friends with the school’s board of directors and attended exclusive donor events reserved for “rich” families.

‘Malicious gossip, racist remarks’

The claim says the Crofton Student’s bullying escalated the next school year with the spreading of malicious gossip about the daughter, to the point that “a great proportion of the Grade 7 class became involved in propagating disparaging rumours…”

“In addition to racist remarks about [the daughter’s] mixed race heritage, Crofton House students spread homophobic rumours and hateful gossip about [her] sexuality,” reads the claim. “Crofton House did not intervene sufficiently, or at all, to cease the spiraling racism, bullying and homophobia…”

Crofton House School in Vancouver, British Columbia on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

According the claim, Natalie Boll approached the school a number of times to express concern about her daughter’s treatment. On one occasion, a director allegedly said that her daughter was socially awkward and was, herself, to blame for the bullying and alienation she was experiencing at Crofton House.

In January 2019, abusive social media posts against the daughter began escalating with messages like “everyone at Crofton hates you,” “kill yourself” and “drink bleach,” according to the claim.

Some of the messages were sent on the app Tellonym, which was linked to the girl’s Instagram account. Tellonym is free to download and allows people to send anonymous messages to and about other people.

Natalie Boll, whose daughter attended Crofton House school, is pictured at her home in Vancouver, British Columbia on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The claim says when the daughter started Grade 8 in September 2019, “the bullying continued frequently and unabated …  [The daughter] was being jeered at and called a ‘skid’ and a ‘lesbian,’ as she walked down the hallways.”

A Crofton adviser suggested that the daughter join extracurricular groups such as the debate club to fit in, according to the claim.

Xanax overdose

Around Sept. 30, 2019, an older student gave the daughter Xanax, advising it would help her not care about the bullying. The daughter passed out at school and was taken to UBC emergency where doctors administered Narcan. While there, previously undiscovered cut marks were found on her arms from where she had been cutting herself, according to the claim.

The daughter was put on suicide watch and sent to Children’s Hospital where a doctor advised that she not return to Crofton House.

The claim says that Crofton House “incubated an environment in which homophobia, racism, harassment, bullying and the recruitment of others to bully was commonplace.”

It says the school was negligent in maintaining sufficient student safety, “… resulting in the endangerment of [the daughter’s] life.”

None of the allegations have been tested in court.

Mother petitions against anonymous apps

Last week and completely separate from the lawsuit, Natalie Boll started an online petition calling for the banning of anonymous apps Tellonym and YOLO.

Some of the social media messages the daughter allegedly received. (submitted to CBC)

She said her daughter was bullied and harassed over both platforms and believes the apps are a breeding ground for hate and encouraging self harm and suicide.

Both are free to download from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Sarahah, a hugely popular social media app that allows anonymous messaging, was dropped by Apple and Google after an Australian mother started a petition against it, alleging it facilitated cyberbullying and self harm.

It's Well Past Time the NHL Fixed a Culture That Allows Coaching Abuses of Power With Little Consequence

It’s Well Past Time the NHL Fixed a Culture That Allows Coaching Abuses of Power With Little Consequence

December 9th, 2019 Respect in Sport, Respect in the Workplace

Source: Sports Illustrated:MICHAEL ROSENBERG

 

The NHL has a problem, and it’s not just that Bill Peters used the n-word with an African-born player, or that Mike Babcock apparently accosted a player to the point of a nervous breakdown, or that Marc Crawford has been accused of assaulting at least three players. It’s that they thought they could get away with all that—and for a long time, they did.

Hockey’s culture, endearing in so many ways, has some real shortfalls. For decades, coaches’ ideal player had soft hands, fast feet, a powerful shot and no vocal cords. Players are told to fall in line early and almost always do. No matter how much money they make or how famous they are, players just seem to want to play hockey. It’s charming. But coaches know they can take advantage, and teams become autocracies.

“What you hear is, ‘All those hockey guys are such nice guys, they’re so nice to work with,’” former NHL forward Sheldon Kennedy said. “You hear that all the time. And the players are good, most of the coaches are good people. [But] it’s not a player-empowered league. It is very authoritative, dominant. Even the star players in hockey don’t really have a voice … the big stars don’t speak up like they do in other leagues.”

Kennedy only played 310 games in the NHL, but he understands the sport’s cultural problem as well as anybody. In the 1990s, he publicly accused his junior-league coach Graham James of sexual abuse. James was convicted. For the last 16 years, Kennedy’s company the Respect Group has trained 1.3 million people in workplace and sporting conduct.

 

Kennedy is clear: “It’s not just a hockey issue.” But hockey is especially vulnerable. From the moment teen stars leave home to play junior hockey, they are told, “Make sure you listen to your coach.” The idea that authority figures know better than they do is instilled early and often. You can draw a line from Players’ Association head Alan Eagleson defrauding players to the current crisis.

The coaches in the news lately are not just any coaches. Babcock won the Stanley Cup once, nearly won it two other times, then signed the richest coaching contract in NHL history, with the league’s flagship team. Former Red Wing Johan Franzen, who has a history of concussions and depression, says Babcock verbally assaulted him to the point where he didn’t want to go to the rink.

Crawford also won the Cup. He has been accused of kicking and choking players.

Peters used the n-word in anger toward player Akim Aliu a decade ago, when Aliu played for Peters with the AHL’s Rockford Icehogs. Peters says he apologized in front of the entire team —which, if true, would mean the whole team knew about it. Yet Peters got two NHL coaching jobs after that.

Imagine seeing these kinds of headlines about Steve Kerr. Or Sean McVay. Or Joe Maddon.

The NHL can change, but only if commissioner Gary Bettman wants it to change—and early indications are that he does. He met with Aliu, who said they had “a great discussion.” And last week, NHL executive vice president Kim Davis reached out to Kennedy. They are supposed to talk this week.

 

Davis should ask Kennedy the same question I asked him:

When it comes to educating people about these issues, does the NHL trail youth hockey?

Kennedy’s response: “Absolutely.”

It is a strange phenomenon. In most sports, players have the most power when they are professionals. But hockey still clings to the archetype of the domineering coach. Most players fear losing ice time or getting sent down to the minors, and established stars don’t want to look like divas. You can see where players who want to speak up often feel trapped.

The Respect Group’s Respect in Sport Activity Leader Program, is mandatory for all coaches by Hockey Canada and all host families in the Canadian Hockey Legaue. More than 300,000 people have been certified. Hockey Canada requires one parent or care-giver of every youth player to complete the Respect in Sport Parent Program. Yet Kennedy says, “I’ve done nothing, ever with the NHL.”

Maybe Davis and Bettman will change that. This is not just about the coaches who have been named. Professional environments should have certain standards. Somebody has to implement them.

“They just need to get on board,” Kennedy said. “They need to support the good work that is happening in grassroots hockey … the sexual-abuse stuff has made the headlines for all these years. But the reality is, we’ve known the emotional and physical abuse and verbal abuse doesn’t make the headlines, but it’s probably more prevalent.”

 

Bettman is meeting with the league’s Board of Governors this week. He has declined to talk until after that meeting. He and the board should realize they have two options here. They can worry about damage control, or they can root out the problem and start fixing it. Kennedy says, “What I know about this stuff is when we have good leadership within an organization, or a team, this stuff doesn’t happen.” That applies to leagues, too.

Appuyer un apprentissage sécuritaire et respectueux

Appuyer un apprentissage sécuritaire et respectueux

December 9th, 2019 Respect à l’école

 La ministre de l’Éducation, Adriana LaGrange; Sheldon Kennedy; des conseillers scolaires de Red Deer Public; des leadeurs étudiants; et du personnel de l’école primaire Eastview Middle School à Red Deer.

 

Les leadeurs et le personnel scolaires auront désormais accès à plus de ressources pour la prévention de l’intimidation, du harcèlement et de la discrimination dans les écoles.

Le gouvernement accorde une subvention de 300 000$ par an au cours de quatre ans pour appuyer le programme Respect à l’école, une initiative qui conscientise le personnel scolaire quant à ses responsabilités pour faire en sorte que les élèves sont à l’abri de situations d’abus.

« Tous les élèves méritent un milieu d’apprentissage positif et bienveillant. Cette subvention témoigne de notre engagement à appuyer les écoles sécuritaires qui protègent les élèves contre la discrimination et l’intimidation. J’encourage tous les leadeurs scolaires à compléter la formation Respect à l’école dans l’intérêt de nos enfants. »

Adriana LaGrange, ministre de l’Éducation

Le programme Respect à l’école offre une formation en ligne en français et en anglais. La formation renseigne les enseignants, les autres membres du personnel scolaire, les chauffeurs d’autobus, les parents bénévoles et les leadeurs étudiants au sujet de la prévention de l’intimidation, du harcèlement et de la discrimination dans leurs écoles.

« Nous sommes fiers d’appuyer Alberta Education qui, par son leadeurship, fait de la sécurité et du bien-être de nos enfants sa priorité absolue. Respect à l’école donnera aux leadeurs scolaires la confiance de « se lever et agir » lorsque des situations exigeant leur intervention se présentent, et les aidera à créer des milieux d’apprentissage sécuritaires et respectueux pour tous les élèves. »

Sheldon Kennedy, cofondateur, Respect Group Inc.

Par les programmes de formation en ligne de Respect Group Inc., plus de 1,2 million de personnes de partout au Canada sont certifiées comme étant en mesure de reconnaitre et de prévenir l’intimidation, le harcèlement et la discrimination.

« Comme district, nous nous sommes rendu compte d’une préoccupation grandissante en matière de santé mentale et de bien-être. Lors de l’élaboration de notre initiative mettant en valeur la santé mentale, un des éléments clés de la prévention et de la promotion a été la mise en œuvre de Respect à l’école à l’échelle du district. Chaque membre de notre personnel suit la formation pour reconnaitre et prévenir l’intimidation, l’abus, le harcèlement et la discrimination. En conscientisant notre personnel scolaire sur ces enjeux, nous créons une culture du respect partout dans notre communauté scolaire. »

Nicole Buchanan, présidente, Red Deer Public Schools

Les Albertaines et les Albertains aux prises avec l’intimidation ou d’autres problèmes touchant leur santé mentale ont accès à des services d’appui 24 heures par jour, 7 jours par semaine, y compris le service d’assistance téléphonique en matière de santé mentale (sans frais en composant le 1-877-303-2642), le service d’assistance téléphonique (sans frais en composant le 1-888-456-2323) et de chat Bullying Helpline Chat en matière d’intimidation et le service fédéral Jeunesse, J’écoute (1-800-668-6868).

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Appuyer un apprentissage sécuritaire et respectueux

Supporting safe and respectful learning

December 9th, 2019 Respect in School

Photo: Minister LaGrange, Sheldon Kennedy, trustees, student leaders and staff from Eastview Middle School. | La ministre de l’Éducation, Adriana LaGrange; Sheldon Kennedy; des conseillers scolaires de Red Deer Public; des leadeurs étudiants; et du personnel de l’école primaire Eastview Middle School à Red Deer.

 

 

 

Government is providing a grant of $300,000 per year over four years to support the Respect in School program, which educates school system employees on their responsibilities to ensure students are safe from abusive situations.

“All students deserve a positive and caring learning environment. With this grant, we are following through on our commitment to support safe schools that protect students against discrimination and bullying. I encourage all school leaders and staff to complete the Respect in School training for the benefit of our children.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education

The Respect in School online training, offered in English and French, will educate teachers and other school staff, bus drivers, parent volunteers and student leaders about how they can prevent bullying, harassment and discrimination in their schools.

“We are proud to stand alongside Alberta Education who, through their leadership, is making the safety and well-being of our kids their top priority. Respect in School will give school leaders the confidence to step up and step in when situations arise and help create safe and respectful learning environments for all students.”

Sheldon Kennedy, co-founder, Respect Group Inc.

Through its online training programs, Respect Group Inc. has certified more than 1.2 million people across Canada to recognize and prevent bullying, harassment and discrimination.

“As a district we recognized increasing concerns for mental health and wellness. As we developed our Valuing Mental Health initiative, one of the key elements for prevention and promotion was the district-wide implementation of Respect in School. Each of our staff members goes through the training to recognize and prevent bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination. By educating our school staff on the prevention of these issues, we build a culture of respect across our school community.”

Nicole Buchanan, chair, Red Deer Public Schools

Albertans dealing with bullying or other issues that may be affecting their mental health can access supports 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including the Mental Health Helpline (toll-free at 1-877-303-2642), the Bullying Helpline (toll-free at 1-888-456-2323), Bullying Helpline Chat, and Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868).

Calls for diversity, inclusion in sports amplified following Peters allegations

Calls for diversity, inclusion in sports amplified following Peters allegations

December 2nd, 2019 Respect in Sport, Respect in the Workplace

SOURCE: Calgary Herald:

SAMMY HUDES

 

As the Calgary Flames investigate allegations of racism and physical force by head coach Bill Peters toward former players, some say changes are desperately needed in order to foster a more inclusive environment in hockey from the grassroots to professional levels.

The allegations began surfacing Monday when former Flames forward Akim Aliu wrote on social media that Peters “dropped the N bomb several times towards me in the dressing room” while both were in the minors during the 2009-10 season.

Former Carolina Hurricanes player Michal Jordan later alleged that Peters kicked him and punched another player “to the head” during a game. Peters coached the Hurricanes prior to joining the Flames.

The allegations of racial slurs came as no surprise to Cecil Harris, who in 2003 wrote a book on racism in the sport titled, “Breaking the Ice: The Black Experience in Professional Hockey.”

“Only the names have changed, unfortunately, because the same racial intolerance exists,” said Harris, who is based in New York.

Throughout his research, he said he spoke to many black players who described having “buried” racist experiences in order to advance their hockey careers, including former Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

“Iginla shared a story with me. It’s something that happened when he was 15 years old. He was chased by some people and racial slurs were uttered,” said Harris, adding Aliu was “right in believing that he would have been blamed” had he come forward with his allegations against Peters sooner.

“The onus would be put on him and he would be attacked and he wouldn’t be able to progress in the sport.”

In Canada, more than 50 sport organizations across the country have partnered with the Respect Group, which strives to prevent bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination in sports.

Co-founder Wayne McNeil said games like hockey are changing as new Canadians continue to fuel population growth across Canada.

“Have they been slow? Maybe we’ve all been slow across all sports to really come up with the best approach to getting new Canadians involved,” he said.

“We need to come up with the right messaging and scheduling and levels of play that are going to make it really exciting for new Canadians to be part of it.”

McNeil said the group tries to prepare coaches with the tools needed to handle their behaviour, especially in high-emotion circumstances.

“The emotional levels that people feel — be it coaches, be it parents — in a sport, they get elevated to a level that you don’t typically see in a workplace, or that you even encounter when you’re in a school environment,” he said.

“You look at a lot of the things that happen. They’re quick responses to high emotional moments often followed by apologies because people realize ‘oh my god, I don’t typically act like that.’”

He said coaches need to “understand their legal and moral duty of care,” while remembering that their goal is to build self-esteem in participants.

In a statement, the Coaching Association of Canada said “inclusion must be a foundational pillar of our sport system” and that it continues to educate coaches, administrators, and volunteers on the most “constructive ways to build inclusive and respectful sport experiences.”

Andrea Carey, director of operations and special projects with Sport for Life, said issues surrounding diversity and inclusion at the grassroots level are “rapidly changing right now.”

Carey said the organization trains those in the sporting community to create inclusive environments, with a focus on creating opportunities for Indigenous people and newcomers, people with disabilities, women and girls.

Akim Aliu skates with the Calgary Flames during his time with the team in April 2012. LORRAINE HJALTE / CALGARY HERALD

She said there’s still a huge gap in terms of staff, volunteers, parents and players being fully prepared to ensure a welcoming culture at all times.

“In many cases, they don’t know what they don’t know. They might think they know about, let’s say racism. They think they know what issues are around racism,” said Carey.

“But if you dive deeper, often they really don’t know because they maybe haven’t had the opportunity to work with someone with lived experience that can share that story and bring those topics to light.”

That still needs to be tackled from the top-down, according to Harris, who noted that while “outstanding players” of colour like Iginla or Edmonton Oilers great Grant Fuhr found acceptance at hockey’s highest level, “marginal” players have a harder time than white athletes of the same calibre.

He said more diversity is needed among hockey’s most influential decision-makers.

“It’s business as usual if the overwhelming majority of coaches, assistant coaches and general managers are white. I think the black player who is subjected to racial slurs will be told ‘just forget about.’ They cut deep if those words are uttered to you,” he said.

“If there was more diversity and inclusion … I think that would send a strong message to all players: respect everybody regardless of their background, get racism out of the sport. It doesn’t belong here. It’s vile.”

shudes@postmedia.com
Twitter: @SammyHudes

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