February 2015

On Tuesday, February 24th, educators, students, and professionals in the field of education gathered in downtown Toronto for a full day, interactive conference on Safe Schools.

The Canadian Safe School Network is extremely proud to have hosted the 18th Annual Safe Schools Conference. We would like to thank all of those who made the event possible, our planning committee, volunteers, speakers and of course the delegates who joined us to learn, discuss and most importantly create the best possible learning environments for our students.

We were honoured to have the Hon. Liz Sandals with us at the event, and give an opening address to delegates discussing the new changes to sexual education curriculum in Ontario.

Following the opening remarks, our keynote speaker Mary Gordon, founder of Roots of Empathy took the podium and delivered a captivating address on creating kindness and emotionally literate classrooms.

In the student stream, sponsored by TD bank, Keynote speaker Leah Parsons, mother of Rehteah Parsons, gave an emotional account of Rehteah’s story and urged youth to speak out, and stand up for each other. Leah Parsons also applauded the new Ontario curriculum by telling students that they “were lucky that in this province changes are being made.”  Leah Parsons on CTV live at the Safe Schools Conference.

As the day progressed, our delegates attended a variety of workshops all pertaining to many aspects of safe schools. Subjects included: dealing with a problem parent, restorative culture, psychological perspectives, student equity, student transitions, homophobia, practices for suspended and expelled students and much more. Some of our workshop presenters included, PREVNet, Toronto Police, and the Toronto Argos.

Our second keynote address was given by Dr. Tracy Vaillancourt, of the University of Ottawa. Dr. Vaillancourt offered an insightful look at peer victimization and it’s effects on youth mental health.

We are very happy to have had such an excellent group of presenters, keynote speakers, and exhibitors. Thank you to everyone who joined us. Below are some photos and interviews from the day.

Leah Parsons on CTV


Michael Eisen from Youth Wellness Network speaks to students in the TD student stream.


Dr. Tracy Vaillancourt gives a Keynote address



Wali Shah performs spoken word in the TD Student Stream


Dr. Tracy Vaillancourt 


Jason Colero, Founder of the Argos’ Huddle Up Program at the TD student stream




Mary Gordon, Founder of Roots of Empathy gives Keynote address


Mary Gordon, Founder of Roots of Empathy gives Keynote address

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Leah Parson speaks to students about her daughter Rehteah at the TD student stream

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The Hon. Liz Sandals discusses the new sex-ed curriculum. 

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Registration, media set-up and the wonderful TD volunteers!


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The 18th Annual Safe Schools Conference is around the corner! Here are the details you need to know about the event.
There is still space available! If you’d like to join us for this incredible event. Get in touch!

Also, follow us throughout the day on Tuesday for highlights of the event! #CssnTO

For the Press Release as a PDF, click Here.


TORONTO – February 24th, 2015 — A child cannot learn in an environment where they do not feel safe. Safe schools are fundamental to students’ emotional well-being and academic success. As educators, it is our responsibility to ensure that all students are provided with respectful, caring, inclusive and ultimately safe learning environments. The Canadian Safe School Network is pleased to present the 18th Annual Safe Schools Conference at the Allstream Centre in Toronto, ON. Hundreds of Toronto educators will join us on February 24th, 2015 to learn from dynamic keynote speakers and interactive workshops

This year’s conference includes a student stream sponsored by TD bank, and featuring keynote speaker Leah Parsons, mother of Rehtaeh Parsons. It will create the unique opportunity for students across the GTA to learn and collaborate about the best practices to create safe and caring schools.

The Hon. Liz Sandals will be in attendance to give an opening address. FAST (Fighting Anti-Semitism Together) has generously sponsored the event and founder Tony Comper will give a welcoming address as well.

Keynote Speakers include Mary Gordon, founder of Roots of Empathy presenting The Emotionally Literate Classroom.  As well as Dr. Tracy Vaillancourt, Professor and Canada Research Chair, Children’s Mental Health and Violence Prevention, University of Ottawa presenting Understanding the complex links between peer victimization, mental health, and academic achievement. The event will also include presentations from members of the TDSB, TCDSB, Peel DSB, Sir Wilfred Laurier School Board, PrevNet, Toronto Police Service and much more.

As part of a mandate to create safe schools nation-wide, we are pleased to present the 18th Annual Safe Schools Conference.  Registration is still open for this important event.

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This weekend the Toronto Sun published an article discussing the occurrences of violent incidents in Ontario schools. The data has been obtained by recent Freedom of Information requests to a number of Ontario boards. The article titled “Ontario’s school violence statistics criticized for inaccuracy”  outlines just that. The inaccurate and curious results of what should be systematic reporting procedures. Our president Stu Auty was interviewed for the article. He explains that the province should be praised for trying to collect the numbers. But the figures don’t look right to him. With the results ranging drastically between boards, even those of similar size, it does not appear that the reporting process is the same from one board to the next. Most importantly the problem needs to be fixed. The ministry is responsible for policy making, and in order to make policy the data needs to be accurate, Stu explains.

Read the whole article HERE.

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