Safe and Caring Schools

History and Legislation

Addressing safety in schools is not new in Manitoba. In 2002, the Province of Manitoba established Safe Schools Manitoba (SSM) to provide consultation related to issues of safety in schools. The Safe Schools Charter became provincial law in 2004 making it a duty of schools to provide students with safe and caring school environments.

In 2005, all Manitoba schools were required to have a code of conduct and a current emergency response plan with the support of a Safe School Advisory Committee.

Manitoba: Provincial School Code of Conduct

The Public Schools Act (PSA) requires that the principal of each school, in consultation with the safe school advisory committee, establish a school code of conduct for the school. Principals are required to ensure that the annual review of the school’s code of conduct and emergency response plan is completed by October 31 of each year.

The Public Schools Amendment Act (Cyber-Bullying and Electronic Devices, 2008) expanded the definition of bullying to include cyber-bullying and required school boards to establish policy respecting appropriate use of electronic devices.

Manitoba’s Anti-Bullying Action Plan announced December, 2012, renewed action across levels of education involving educational partners (students, parents, educators, schools, communities, health and protective services) with a focus on the provision of safe school environments.

Further amendments to The Public Schools Act, along with Manitoba’s Anti-Bullying Action Plan, continued to strengthen the provision of school safety, including:

  • Reporting Bullying and Other Harm, 2012, requires adults in schools to report unacceptable student conduct.
  • Safe and Inclusive Schools, 2013, revised the definition of ‘bullying’ and required school boards to expand polices related to appropriate technology use and the reporting of cyber-bullying, and directed  school boards to establish respect for human diversity policy that promotes the respect and acceptance of others in a safe, caring and inclusive school environment.

Manitoba’s Definition of ‘Bullying’

‘Bullying’ is behaviour that is intended to cause fear, intimidation, humiliation, distress or other forms of harm to another person’s feelings, self-esteem, body, or reputation or is intended to create a negative school environment for another person.

Bullying takes place in a context of a real or perceived power imbalance between the people involved and is typically, but need not be, repeated behaviour.

It may be direct (face to face) or indirect (through others), and it may take place through any form of expression – including written, verbal, or physical – or by means of any form of electronic communication (referred to as cyber-bullying), including social media, text messaging, instant messaging, websites, or email.

Public Schools Act, 2013

  • Provincial Code of Conduct, 2013, set out a range of appropriate disciplinary consequences for all schools to consistently follow. The Appropriate Disciplinary Consequences in Schools Regulation 92/2013 under The Education Administration Act confirms and restates the authority of principals, schools, and school divisions and requires principals of Manitoba schools to ensure that appropriate interventions and disciplinary consequences are included in their school codes of conduct.

Manitoba’s three-year action plan goals and accomplishments include:

  • Collaborating with partners to provide direct service to support students (Youth Health Survey, Roots of Empathy, Egale, Suicide Prevention, Kids Help Phone, Canadian Centre for Child Protection)
  • Supporting and planning for student safety (Tell Them From Me Survey for school planning and professional development sessions on a Whole-School Approach to Planning for Safety and Belonging)
  • Building the capacity of school personnel to prevent, recognize and respond to bullying behaviours (Respect in Schools, Safe and Caring Schools Leadership Conferences: Safe and Caring Schools, 2013, and Cyber-safety, 2014)
  • Informing and empowering parents in preventing, recognizing, responding to and reporting bullying behaviours (Safe Schools Manitoba)
  • Strengthening legislation and government policy (Public Schools Act)

See the Links and Documents sections for support documents and reference links.