Fostering Collaboration

Many factors come into play that influence – positively or negatively – the tone and spirit of our relationship with our students’ parents and caregivers (See Understanding Parents and Caregivers.) While a relationship based on a partnership model is not always possible, the strategies and tools outlined in this section of our module will go a long way toward fostering collaboration.

As we strive to implement these various strategies and tools, the overarching goal is to encourage the parent or caregiver to become an ally, working collaboratively with the school in order to help end the bullying or harassment. Parents and caregivers can be allies of the school and of their children whether their children are targets of bullying or have engaged in bullying behaviour. In both instances, the student’s wellbeing is at stake.

We can convey this essential goal from the outset by communicating our own and the school’s concern about the situation, as well as our commitment to see it ended.

Saying it

Here are phrases that communicate our goal of collaborating with the parent or caregiver in order to end the situation involving bullying or inequity:

"I wanted to let you know that I take this situation very seriously. Our school has made a strong commitment to ensuring that we don’t tolerate cruelty and abuse. I really appreciate your willingness to work with us on this. Quite honestly, we’ll need your input and participation as well as that of your child’s. Working together I feel confident we’ll be able to ensure her wellbeing and that of all the students involved."

An alliance between teachers and parents or caregivers needs to include students as central participants and leaders in decision-making. To effectively resolve a bullying situation, we will need to listen closely and consult students in order to learn about the context and the school culture. As adults, we cannot assume that “we know best”, and this is particularly true in a high school context, further increasing as students age and mature.