Education Minister Bernard Drainville’s plan and intentions to counter violence and bullying in schools are very noble. This is not the problem. It lies rather in the fact that we present ourselves as a new intention with the desire to document these important social issues, to offer training and support in this area and to raise awareness in the community even though it has been planning for at least 20 years. and the policies have been accumulating and collecting dust in the mysteries of the Ministry of Education (MEQ) without this improving the situation in schools as much as we would like.
Since becoming Education Minister, Bernard Drainville has, with good reason, railed against the apparent fog that surrounds several essential aspects of school life. This time, he was surprised to discover that schools document acts of violence and bullying differently, and that the numbers he has for understanding the chakra are incomplete and imperfect. No matter: a uniform questionnaire will now be sent to schools so that they can carry out their review in the same way. We will know what we are talking about.
Let’s take a small step back to see if Quebec, or at least the Ministry of Education, learns from our mistakes. In 2005, in his annual report 2004-2005, the Auditor General of Quebec, Renaud Lachance, devotes an entire chapter to violence interventions in public secondary schools. It states that, despite the fact that educational centers are concerned about the phenomenon of violence, only 37% of them have taken the trouble to validate their perceptions with data. For this reason, he recommends establishments to acquire the good habit of doing so. At this time, Quebec was concerned about these threats looming over children: an extensive health and social survey conducted among children and adolescents in Quebec by the Quebec Statistics Institute had just revealed, three years earlier, that the 70% of 9-year-old children say they have suffered violence or bullying at school.
Since then, action plans and policies have been added. In fact, in 2012 we adopted the Prevention and Combating of Bullying and Violence in Schools Act, which, one might think by re-reading this key document, seems to contain all the steps and conditions to be followed to equip the centers with effective tools against violence. It was about ten years ago, and suddenly we’d be in a fog? What evil is attacking the Ministry of Education and the delegations of its network so that, time after time, it is tempted to return to nature and activate a mode of blind governance?
In recent months, the current councilor has made numerous announcements with the aim of making the educational network more efficient. His past as a journalist perhaps helps him in his – well founded – stubbornness to want to actually document a problem before giving it a turnkey solution. Two questions are raised: first, after so many years of waiting attitude on the part of the educational network, what allows us to believe that this time will be the right one and that the uniform questionnaire proposed by M Will Drainville succeeds where so many initiatives have failed? So who will have the courage to face the apparent force of inertia that the Ministry of Education suffers from, suffocated by its giganticism? It is notorious that many of the policies and plans of this ministry, including several focused on academic success, were built in a form of blindness that is unworthy of its mission. We move forward by trial and error where we must proceed with precision.
It is a shame, then, that for a file of such importance, which we imagined was well supervised, since we have been talking about it for some time, the school is still apparently doomed to go back to square one. Document the importance of the problem. Train resource people. Support school teams and, by extension, students. Raise awareness and act in prevention, two basic concepts. Quebec, however, has had its share of disturbing events on the issue of school violence, such as the Dawson tragedy in 2006, which then forced an almost daily record of violent incidents in schools , a practice that was abandoned over time. Acts of violence in schools make headlines. “Ordinary” violence occurs every day in the privacy of the school.
It is not that the action plan presented by Mr. Drainville is useless or flawed, because the subject it encompasses is of paramount importance. It is rather that it comes in a surprising way where we believe, quite naively, that things were already well taken care of. It seems that in education, as elsewhere perhaps, it is an eternal new beginning.
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