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Bullying Mediation

The goal of the Bullying Mediation Program, which uses the combined resources of the Greater Sudbury Police Service and the school boards, is to have mediation and intervention available to all elementary and high school children and staff through the utilization of off-duty officers. Prevention has been very valuable, but, in the case of re-offending bullies, a need for enforcement exists as well.

The Bullying Mediation program began in January 2004. Referrals are accepted from principals only. If a parent calls with a request, they are told to contact the principal and request a referral be called in. Once the referral is made, the coordinator gathers the pertinent information on the incident: name of bully and victim, dates of birth for both parties, addresses, telephone numbers, parent/guardians' names, and a synopsis of the incident(s). A referral sheet is filled out and the referral is assigned to a mediation officer. The officer calls the parents of both parties involved and sets a time and date for the mediation. The parents are told that they are not to speak at any time during the mediation unless the officer asks them a specific question, and that the mediation is for the children and not the parents.
 
The mediation is usually conducted at the police station, but can happen at the school in certain circumstances. Once the mediation is complete, both parties draw up a contract between them and sign it. The Mediation Officer gives a formal caution to the child and explain the consequences of disregarding the caution. 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 parenting courses. If the child is under 12, he or she is told that a harsh suspension may be issued. A child that is 12 years of age or older is cautioned that a breach of contract might mean legal charges. The contract is then faxed to the principal of the school with the instructions and consequences if either party breaches the contract. The Greater Sudbury Police Service has received full support from school board administration and principals.