Monday, April 23, 2012

NL FEDERATION OF SCHOOL COUNCIL'S AGM A SUCCESS

Bullying and the increasing problem of drug usage by school aged children dominated that agenda at this weekend's NL Federation of School Council's Annual General Meeting over the weekend.

Delegates from across the island and Labrador gained valuable insight into the emergence of cyber bulling in our schools. 1Dr. Gerald White of Memorial University provided some results of his studies on cyber-bulling and victimization in this province. His presentation was augmented by a presentation from Bernie Ottenheimer who works for Department of Education. She spoke about safe and caring schools offering proactive and reactive strategies for parents and schools.

Another real eye opener was a presentation by Judy Morgan and Dwain Campbell of the Rowan Centre that dealt with mental health and addictions in our schools. If you think we do not have a drug problem in our schools, think again. Some of the real life examples were jarring!

The Rowan Center is a day treatment program for adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 whose involvement with substance use and/or gambling is having a negative impact on their lives. The program is voluntary program. Clients must be in the preparation stage of change and be willing to goal towards participation in all components of the program as identified in their Individual Treatment Plan.

The St. Paul's Council of the Knights of Columbus, of which I am Deputy Grand Knight,  has been a very active supporter of the RNC DARE Program which educates Elementary children about the dangers of drug use. After today's presentation, I am convinced that parents need to be more involved in ensuring that they know what their children are doing and watch for the signs of drug use. We can't leave educating our children about drug addictions to the school system alone.

The keynote speaker was Education Minister Clyde Jackman and NDP Education critic Dale Kirby attended sessions on Friday and Saturday. Not a sign of any Liberal politcians to show an interest in school policy or the concerns of the provinces school councils.

Ruby Hoskins was elected as president.  She has served in the role in the past and can be counted on to provide great leadership over the next couple of years on the important files related to school councils and education in the province.  I was elected secretary of the organization. I am looking forward to working with the federation and advocating on behalf of the provinces school councils.



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