Bullying Mediation Program
The goal of the Bullying Mediation Program, with the combined resources of the Service and School Boards is to have mediation and intervention available to all elementary school children and staff through the utilization of police officers as mediators. Indications have demonstrated that prevention is very valuable but in the case of re-offending bullies there was a need for enforcement as well. Elementary school aged children still have a great deal of respect for law enforcement officers and having to come to the station to meet the officer accompanied by his/her parent/guardian has a tremendous impact on the child.
The Bullying Mediation program began in January 2004 and has been very successful to date. Referrals are accepted from principals and officers only. Once the referral is made, the coordinator gathers the pertinent information on the incident: names of those involved in the conflict, date of births for both parties, addresses, telephone, parent/guardian's names and a synopsis of the incident(s). A referral sheet is filled out and the referral is assigned to a mediation officer who has received training in the dynamics of bullying and mediation techniques along with existing school/police protocol on bullying, contracts and counselling.
The officer calls the parents of both parties involved and sets up a time and date for the mediation. The parents are asked not to speak at any time during the mediation unless the officer asks them a specific question. The mediation process is to assist the children in recognizing and acknowledging the conflict as well as exploring ways to resolve the conflict collectively with the help of the mediator and parents. The mediation is usually conducted at police headquarters unless circumstances prevent this from happening. In special cases the mediation could take place at the school. Once the mediation is complete, both parties involved draw up a contract between them and sign it. The Mediation Officer then cautions the participants and explains the consequences of disregarding the caution and breaching the signed contract. The officer speaks to the parents as well and offers suggestions as to how to help the child modify his/ her behaviour. The officer will often refer the parents to community agencies that offer help in the form of workshops and courses. If the child is under 12, they are told that a suspensions could be issued if there is a breach of contract. A child that is 12 years of age or older is cautioned that a breach of contract might mean charges laid. The contract is then faxed to the principal of the school to add to the participants' school file.
If you are interested in the bullying mediation program, speak with the principal of your child's school.