UNICEF welcomes new initiative but emphasizes importance of mentioning
MONTREAL, Feb. 17, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - UNICEF applauds Sunday's
announcement by the Quebec Government that it is implementing new
measures to reduce school bullying and violence.
"I think we all agree that this is a step in the right direction for
addressing the problems of bullying and violence among young people,"
said David Morley, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada. "What makes this
initiative even more welcome is that it supports several actions that
UNICEF has been advocating for a number of years. Those actions,
including UNICEF's Rights Respecting Schools program, are based on
violence prevention and a culture of respect for others."
"It is unfortunate that children's rights are not explicitly mentioned
anywhere in the materials or communications issued by the government.
UNICEF firmly believes that a children's rights framework is essential
in any anti-bullying and violence prevenion initiative targeted towards
children. UNICEF's Rights Respecting Schools program is an example of
this. When children know they have the right to not be subjected to
discrimination or violence, they understand that other children and
adults also have this right. Children then understand they must act
accordingly resulting in improved relationships and behaviour," said
Rights Respecting Schools, a UNICEF initiative
UNICEF Canada's Rights Respecting Schools Program is a holistic
education program. It uses the United Nations Convention on the Rights
of the Child to develop a culture of inclusiveness and respect in
elementary schools and promotes meaningful participation and active
citizenship among students.
Children in Rights Respecting Schools have a more positive experience at
school. Research in the United Kingdom has shown that Rights
Respecting Schools see decreased bullying, a reduction in prejudices,
improved rates of attendance and improved student self esteem and
engagement in learning. Teachers also report improved job satisfaction.
UNICEF Canada's Rights Respecting School Program is the only program of
its kind in Canada. Following the national launch in 2011, a growing
number of schools across the country are participating with the program
currently reaching 2,300 children.
A first school in Quebec
The Rights Respecting Schools program is now in Quebec: Westmount Park
School, part of the English-Montreal School Board, is in the initial
phase of implementation of the program. The program will also soon be
implemented in French-language schools across the province. "Several
faculty members have already started to integrate child rights into
their teaching, but I would say that the students' enthusiasm is our
major motivator in moving forward. We can already see how, by becoming
a Rights Respecting School, we will be able to intervene to prevent
bullying and violence," said school principal Nathalie
UNICEF is the world's leading child-focused humanitarian and development
agency. Through innovative programs and advocacy work, we save
children's lives and secure their rights in virtually every country.
Our global reach, unparalleled influence on policymakers, and diverse
partnerships make us an instrumental force in shaping a world in which
no child dies of a preventable cause. UNICEF is entirely supported by
voluntary donations and helps all children, regardless of race,
religion or politics. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.
SOURCE UNICEF QUEBEC
For further information:
Or to arrange an interview with Nathalie Lacroix-Maillette, principal of Westmount Park School, or Hélène Moïse, manager of the UNICEF Global Classroom program in Quebec, please contact:
Isabelle Fortin, Communications Specialist
Phone: 514 288-5134 ext. 8425