Scott Stinson, superintendent for the Sooke School District, says school safety is a priority. (Photo courtesy of the Sooke School District)

Scott Stinson, superintendent for the Sooke School District, says school safety is a priority. (Photo courtesy of the Sooke School District)

Sooke school superintendent says student safety a paramount concern

“We always want to make sure our students and staff feel safe,” Scott Stinson said regarding the importance of Pink Shirt Day and the district’s approach to bullying.

Taking action by identifying whatever barriers that may exist as a result of human interaction is key, stressed Stinson, superintendent for the Sooke School District. “We’re trying to be as proactive as possible.”

All schools have a code of conduct that addresses how students and staff should behave, he said.

“A big part of that is setting out clear expectations. We do a lot of work with students on how to deal with others that may be creating challenges for them.”

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Efforts at the elementary school level deal with building up the students’ ability to speak up for themselves and how to be a good neighbour.

“It’s more of a face-to-face approach,” he added.

The focus at middle and secondary schools takes a more in-depth approach to building positive relations, with an emphasis on online behaviour, Stinson explained.

“We’re trying to build an understanding for students of their digital profile, what’s posted online and how they react.

“Pink Shirt Day is a good reminder of thosethings we work on every day.

“It’s a great reminder of the responsibility we all share in cultivating good behaviour.

“The nature of problems that arise has changed with the advent of social media and the way we build support has changed,” he noted.

“I think it’s evolving as social media has. Ongoing efforts in schools go beyond just the curriculum to building strong and positive contributors to the community.”