November 18th to 22nd is BELONGING WEEK at St. Luke CES. This is our Board’s new name for the Ministry’s Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week. Bullying is defined by the Ministry of Education as: “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.”

In a school community where all students believe they belong, we can reduce bullying behaviours. Our school staff work with students on a daily basis to help them build their social skills, empathy and capacity to problem solve and resolve conflicts. We are adopting a whole-school Restorative Justice approach, whereby all members of our school community strive to create a positive and peaceful school setting where everyone feels like they belong. When conflict occurs, as it does in all relationships, the goal is to listen to each other, have all participants accept responsibility for their role in the conflict, and commit to doing their part to repair any harm that was done. Children learn better from this supportive teaching approach than from harsh, punitive measures. All children deserve a chance to learn from their mistakes.

There is a theme for each day of our Belonging Week:

Monday – A Peaceful Community

Tuesday – An Inclusive Community

Wednesday – A Respectful Community

Thursday – A Community of Kindness

Friday – A Community that Builds Relationships

There will be daily prayers and classroom activities that reflect each day’s theme. On Wednesday, November 20th, our St. Luke Spirit Squad is inviting all students and staff to wear pink to show that we are committed to always being kind and respectful to each other.

Please take a moment to enjoy this short video in which Jean Vanier speaks about appreciating one another as human beings and encouraging children to create a classroom and a world where we can discover that we belong to each other: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjsbDAEJiqI.

Together, let us pray the prayer of St. Francis and ask for help to bring peace to our communities:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen