In order to help students’ and teachers’ safety and lessen the likelihood of violence in schools, the Ontario government is contributing $24 million. This is because of late occurrences of brutality in schools that have expanded concern and dread among understudies, families and the more extensive local area.
Minister of Education Stephen Lecce stated, “Students must be safe in our schools.” Parents need to be able to have faith in their children’s safety, and students should never have to worry about going to school. In order to guarantee that our schools can provide a secure setting that encourages and supports healthy learning, our government is now providing additional support to school boards and investing through partnerships.
School boards and community organizations will receive additional assistance from this funding, including:
- More than $2.8 million to expand Focus on Youth, increasing the province’s investment in this program by 37 per cent to $10.45 million for 2022-23. This investment will provide high-quality program opportunities for thousands of children and youth in 24 school boards across Ontario by creating employment experiences for high school students. Further, the funding will help increase access to free/low-cost camps for children and youth (kindergarten to Grade 12) in high-needs areas where such opportunities may be limited.
- $1.8 million to the Toronto District School Board to work with community organizations to address incidents of school violence by supporting inclusion and engagement in schools.
- $500,000 (2022-23, 2023-24) to the Pinball Clemons Foundation to partner with the One Voice One Team Youth Leadership Organization. This partnership will provide mentorship, inspiration and ongoing opportunities for connection through in-school and after-school programming.
- $600,000 to partner with Respect Group Inc to deliver and implement the Respect in School Workshop, a 90-minute evidence-based online training program available in French and English designed for school leaders on the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination.
- $1.5 million (2023-24) in anti-hate initiatives that include development of classroom resources to promote diversity and that better reflect the population of Canada, and to partner with community organizations to provide curriculum-linked educational resources on digital literacy to increase student awareness of online misinformation, critical thinking skills and awareness of online hate and threats.
- $1 million in 2023-24 to partner with community organizations to combat racism and dismantle systemic barriers faced by underserved and racialized students through youth hotlines, counselling services, youth support networks, lesson plans and classroom materials.
Through the Safe and Clean Schools Supplement of the Grants for Student Needs, Ontario will provide $16 million in new funding in 2023 and 2024 to support the well-being of students, which will include the following:
- $12 million to support the salaries and benefits costs for staff such as psychologists, social workers and child/youth workers to enhance additional direct services for students
- $4 million to support the salaries and benefits costs for educational assistants to work with students who may require additional support.
The urgency of supporting communities in the fight against school violence is reflected in the investments made by Ontario. These investments support programs that engage youth, address the underlying causes of violence, assist students in overcoming personal and academic obstacles that prevent them from succeeding in school, and help them establish meaningful connections to — and a sense of belonging — within their schools and communities.