Beachy Cove Elementary parent forms a group to fight for change in school policies across the province.
Dana Metcalfe received a terrifying phone call last Thursday from her 10-year-old son.
Metcalfe says her son had called just after lunch, wanting to come home from school because another classmate had forcefully punched him in the back – a thrust so big that it made him vomit.
On Sunday, Metcalfe, along with other parents, will join forces as Mothers Opposing Bullies (MOB). The campaign seeks to change the public school system’s bullying policy across Newfoundland and Labrador.
Metcalfe says this hasn’t been the first bullying incident her son has faced since moving to Newfoundland two years ago. She says the school hasn’t been supportive; the problem still exists and she feels it all boils down to the unclear bullying policies and procedures that are in place.
“If I am obligated by the government to send my son to school, then I’m entitled to my son’s safety while he’s there,” said Metcalfe.
Following the incident on Thursday, Metcalfe shared her story on Facebook. The post spread quickly, and many other parents across the province were equally upset. The original post attracted over 130 shares, 104 comments and 140 likes.
As well, Metcalfe has received numerous personal messages via Facebook from parents who are facing similar issues.
President James Dinn of the NLTA says although the Safe and Caring Schools policy currently in place is a good system, it seems to place more responsibility on teachers and the school rather than parents and the public.
Dinn says since recent budget cuts to education, teachers are being plagued with more responsibility than ever before. Overpopulated classrooms and the lack of resources are creating higher stress levels in both teachers and students.
“I have confidence in the policies and procedures,” said Dinn. “But they need people and time to back them up.”
A spokesperson for Education Minister Dale Kirby declined comment, saying the minister had not been fully briefed on the issue.
Metcalfe created the Mothers Opposing Bullies (MOB) with intentions to create awareness and to create a plan to improve bullying policies and procedures across the province. MOB is holding a public meeting at the Ramada on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.
Metcalfe says she will fight for her son and other children across the province.
“I want to be a part of the solution,” said Metcalfe. “Not the problem.”