In January, CSSN received over 100 amazing stories written by students across Canada. These stories taught us lessons about kindness, friendship, acceptance, bullying and much more. It was a pleasure to read all the entries and to hear from so many exceptional young people! We want to thank you ALL for sending us your stories!

The winning stories have been selected!

Congratulations to:

1st place winner – “Danika’s PJ Incident” by Jahzara, Suddaby P.S., Waterloo Region District School Board.

TWO Runners Up:

These stories will also be published in the Safe Schools Story Book!

Peter’s Poster, by Hannah, Illustrated by Abby Osler School, Prairie Spirit School Division.

Big or Small, You Can Do It All! by Miranda, Earl Marriott Secondary, Surrey School District #36

These stories were well written, creative and shared important messages. Congratulations on a job well done! We are looking forward to working with these talented authors on publishing the Second Safe Schools Story Book.

But there’s more! We were so delighted by all of the entries we received that we’ve decided to highlight some of our favourites on our website! Once a month we will post entries from the story contest for students and teachers to read! So check back to see if your story is there!

Thank you to everyone who participated in to the teachers who incorporated this initiative into their classrooms.


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CSSN has spent 20 years creating schools that are safe and welcoming for all students in Canada. In 2016 there will be new students in class that need our help.

Before our holiday break, we sat down to discuss our next move in creating safe and inclusive school environments. It occurred to us that with the new year, came new students, and a second ‘Back to School’ season. As Canada accepts 25,000 Syrian refugees by February 2016, it is worth noting that many of them are families with school-aged children. This means that this week, and in weeks to come, refugee children will be stepping into new Canadian classrooms for the first time.

For years we have helped address issues that cause stress and anxiety in children including, starting a new school, learning a new curriculum, being included, and making friends. The reality is a refugee child will face each of these issues upon entering their new classroom.

There is no doubt that this transitional period will be a difficult one. CSSN is proud to announce our newest initiative to help refugee children feel safe and included in their new schools.

Our new Back to School Support Package Initiative will send packages of school supplies, technology, and tutoring services to refugee children across Canada. Our goal is to provide them with all the same supplies their peers will have, as well as offer tutoring to help with language barriers that may affect their studies.

Along with this program we will soon be delivering a number of strategies for teachers, to help create a welcoming environment for their new students.

Learn more about this initiative or purchase a Back to School Support Package here:

A new school, new friend, a new classroom can be a stressful experience for any child. Imagine not knowing the language, culture and curriculum.

If you are a teacher in Canada who is accepting a new refugee student in your classroom, please get in touch with us to arrange a support package.

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This past Tuesday, September 8th, 2015, The Canadian Safe School Network’s founder and president, Stu Auty, was interviewed by Stephen LeDrew on CP24. 

Stu outlined a variety of ways that CSSN helps in preventing school violence as well as raising awareness about anti-bullying such as our many educational conferences, direct help supported by TD Bank, and our website that has a variety of resources.

September 8th was also Back to School day which can be an exciting day for many kids but it can also be a day that kids dread if they have been bullied in the past. This is why it is important to raise awareness about cyber bullying as this is a huge issue in this technological day and age where what gets posted online is permanent.

Stu’s advice on cyber bullying was as follows:

  • Adults should take some time to learn about the internet and how it works since it is a technology that is changing rapidly.
  • Parents should look into who their kids are spending time with.
  • Kids who are being cyber bullied should try not to react directly to what is posted online, but rather tell someone in their life like their teacher or an adult they trust.

Check out the full interview here and if you need help with cyber-bullying, you can find resources here.

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Pursuit OCR, Canada’s first fully indoor obstacle course training and movement centre, is opening soon in Toronto! Pursuit OCR is a fitness-based playground that combines education, recreation, and recovery therapy for people of all fitness levels! It offers more than nineteen obstacle courses as well as the first cryosauna in downtown Toronto!

Obstacle course races are hugely popular nowadays which can be seen in the popularity of Tough Mudder and Spartan Race, to name a few. Where do people go when the races are not happening? Pursuit OCR! Pursuit OCR is open year-round, rain or shine.

Pursuit OCR has launched an Indiegogo campaign to reach out to the community so that this facility can be amazing! The team’s goal is to raise $35,000 in 40 days. You can donate here:–2#/story

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SOAR (Students who are Optimistic, Aware, and Ready) is a Canadian documentary film and interactive in-theatre program that is the perfect opportunity for students moving onto high school. SOAR is brought to you by YLCC Media and is supported by us, the Canadian Safe School Network, as well as Cineplex Entertainment.

This film is ninety minutes long and allows students to realistically look at the challenges and opportunities they will encounter during their transition into high school. You can view the official film trailer here.

New high school students will participate in a three hour event that includes information on decision making as well as making the most of their time in high school. The film will be shown in two parts with activities and a discussion before, in the middle, and at the end of the film. Teachers who attend will receive a take-home program that can be used in the classroom as a follow-up to the film.

SOAR: The Documentary will air in select Cineplex theatres this fall, including the following in Ontario:

London — Wednesday, September 23

Milton — Thursday, September 24

Mississauga — Friday, September 25

Waterloo — Monday, September 28

Oakville — Tuesday, September 29

Guelph — Wednesday, September 30

Windsor — Thursday, October 1

Belleville — Friday, October 2

Ottawa — Thursday, October 22

Burlington — Friday, October 23

Barrie — Thursday, October 29

Brantford — Monday, November 2

Oshawa — Tuesday, November 3

Ajax — Wednesday, November 4

Peterborough — Friday, November 6

Please email if you would like to attend this event with a group of students or if you would like more information!

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We have some exciting conferences coming up in 2015 and 2016! Each one will include an array of experts and professionals who will be discussing the most pertinent safe schools issues! Be on the lookout for more details coming soon and be sure to save the dates!

British Columbia Conference

Title: The British Columbia Safe & Caring Schools Conference

Date: Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Venue: Heritage Hall, 3102 Main Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5T 3G7

Price: TBD


Manitoba Conference

Title: The Manitoba Safe & Caring Schools Conference: Diversity, Respect and Inclusion

Date: Monday, February 8th, 2016

Venue: Victoria Inn Winnipeg, 1808 Wellington Ave, Winnipeg, MB. R3H OG3

Price: $299 ($275 early bird)


Toronto Conference 

Title: 19th Annual Safe Schools Conference

Date: Friday, February 26th, 2016

Venue: Allstream Centre, 105 Princes’ Blvd, Toronto, ON. M6K 3C3

Price: $329 ($300 early bird)


Also be sure to look on our website next week for more details on our first annual Speaker Series covering topics surrounding school safety! This event will be hosted in Toronto on November 2nd, 2015!


Please feel free to contact us directly for more details!

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The third annual Playing Fore Change Golf Classic hosted by Dave Rogers and Amp Solar was a great success! We had a wonderful day out at Rattlesnake Point Golf Club in Milton, Ontario!

We would like to thank everyone who came out to this event as well as all of our supporters and our volunteers who helped make this day amazing! We would also like to thank Dave Rogers since this event would not have been possible without him! This event helped raise money for the Canadian Safe School Network in it’s mission to raise awareness and create resources for safer schools and anti-bullying.

Thank you again and see you all next year!


Golfers heading out to the greens!


A beautiful day for some golf!


Our wonderful host, Dave Rogers! (above)


Dave Rogers watching a great golf swing!


Our fabulous Argos team!


A golfer getting ready to swing!


Thank you for ‘Playing Fore Change!’

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In these next two weeks approaching back to school time, we are going to hold a social media campaign involving messages that are directed towards three groups: students, parents, and teachers.

This idea for a back to school social media campaign stems from our recent LGBTQ Student Think Tank event that was held in four cities cross Canada. This event brought LGBTQ high school students together to talk about their challenges and experiences that they face in school everyday. This event was a great success and gave these students the opportunity to talk about issues important to them. One of the main issues that was brought up was what these LGBTQ students wished their teachers knew. Thus, we will be posting some of these quotes throughout the coming weeks to show teachers these simple ideas of how they can be more accommodating for LGBTQ students! If you would like to read more about the think tank, click here!

The hashtag we will be using for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram is #teachtheteacher so feel free to join in on the conversation and add your thoughts and ideas! Our goal with this campaign is to keep the conversation going about these important issues and to demonstrate simple ways that you can make a change!

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Earlier this year, dozens of schools applied for the 2015 Canadian Safe School Network/TD Award for Excellence Against LGBTQ Youth Bullying. In association with The Canadian Safe School Network (CSSN) and TD Bank, this award is presented to a publicly-funded school, elementary or secondary, that has demonstrated excellence in the development, creation or promotion of an in-school initiative to counter LGBTQ bullying. The successful recipient school will be awarded a financial prize of $2500.00 CDN at the start of the 2015-2016 school year.

CSSN received several applications for this award from across Canada. It was a very tough decision to make – every application clearly demonstrated how impactful and beneficial their programming and initiatives are to promote the inclusion and safety of LGBTQ students.

After careful consideration and a rigorous review, we are very pleased to announce the winner of the 2015 award – South Huron District High School! South Huron’s Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) has organized exceptional programming and initiatives at their school to promote inclusion and safety of LGBTQ students, including school-wide assemblies, publications in their local newspaper, class presentations, “Rainbow Week”, attended conferences, and much more. Keep up the fantastic work, South Huron!

We would also like to acknowledge the short-list finalists as well for their outstanding work against LGBTQ Youth Bullying:

Oromocto High School

Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary

Ancaster High

Forest Lawn High School

Congratulations to our winner and a special shout out to our short-list contenders.

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CSSN is excited to welcome some new members to the team! Check out their bios below!

Ryan Hollinrake

Position: Director, Partnerships and Strategy

Ryan joins us after almost 10 years in the international development field where he worked within human rights and women’s rights organizations. During that time Ryan developed and managed strategic programs, partnerships and events. His interest in international development was born from his work with the HBC foundation. Prior to that, Ryan worked for HBC in operations for close to eight years.  

Carly Basian

Position: Curriculum and Program Development Manager

Carly is a graduate from the Masters of Teaching program at the University of Toronto (OISE). She has always been passionate about creating safer schools by integrating anti-violence and anti-bullying topics into her practice and teaching experiences. Carly is very excited to be a part of the CSSN team where she can continue to provide educational and programming opportunities to create awareness about and tackle issues surrounding school based violence and bullying. Previously, Carly has worked as a researcher in psychology for the University of Toronto and Ryerson University. She currently works as a research assistant for Ryerson University’s E-Learning Department in addition to providing professional development for teachers and consultation for sexual health education programming in the K-12 system in Ontario.

Sara Sherstobitoff

Position: Special Events and Administrative Assistant

Sara is a recent graduate of Simon Fraser University where she majored in Psychology and minored in Education with a specialization in Counselling and Human Development. She has had experience in both communications and administration when she worked with the football team at her university. Sara has always had a passion for working with children and youth and is passionate about putting an end to bullying. She looks forward to working with CSSN in their mission to create safer schools!

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