DDSB Safe Schools department hosts its 10th annual conference focused on student voice.
On November 21, students in Grades 5 to 8 from Sinclair Secondary School's family of schools gathered at the Education Centre in Whitby to have a conversation about creating awareness for and preventing bullying.
from Sir Samuel Steele Public School in Whitby share their ideas about bullying
awareness and prevention with their Sinclair SS student leader (far right).
Sinclair SS's family of schools includes: Fallingbrook Public School, Glen Dhu Public School, John Dryden Public School, Ormiston Public School, and Sir Samuel Steele Public School. Student leaders from Sinclair SS led discussions and activities among each school group.
After members from student senate shared their insights into bullying, keynote speakers Maryam and Nivaal Rehman highlighted the power of student voice. Maryam and Nivaal are twin sisters and Grade 12 students at Sinclair SS who are doing amazing things. The sisters shared their experiences travelling the world, speaking with influential people like Malala Yousafzai and Justin Trudeau (just to name a few), and raising awareness and funds for organizations such as Girl Up and the Malala Fund.
activists Maryam and Nivaal Rehman share their experiences at the
Be the Voice
The girls' key take-away idea for students was that, "Age is not a factor in creating change, and you can use your voice to make a difference."
Each Student is Unique
Staff from DDSB's Safe Schools department also spoke, going over what they hope each student gains from the conference and takes back to their school. "Each student is unique, valued, welcomed, supported, and has an important voice," says Daniel Hogan, DDSB's Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention Coordinator.
For the rest of the day students participated in activities and brainstormed with their peers to create anti-bullying policies that work for their specific school environment.
Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention Coordinator Daniel Hogan speaks to
attendees at the Be the Voice conference.
At the end of the day, everyone created a massive circle around the perimeter of the boardroom. Hogan went around the circle asking students, teachers, and student leaders what their favourite part of the conference was. Many responded that they liked being able to speak up, and share their thoughts.
Coinciding with this conference, 25 other DDSB schools held their own Be the Voice forums based on the same activities.