The director of Hamilton’s public school system is recommending another delay on a final report from a bullying prevention panel originally set for release in December.
Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) executive director Manny Figueiredo will ask for a new target date of Jan. 25, 2021, to allow the review panel to squeeze in two more community sessions.
In an executive report to be presented to trustees on Monday night, Figueiredo will reveal follow-up sessions involving input from the Indigenous and LGBTQ communities in the next few weeks in addition to more feedback through the thought exchange platform and a student senate session.
“As part of the Independent Review Panel’s commitment to loop back to the community on the draft recommendations, the panel is seeking to host two additional community sessions and a thought exchange opportunity in order to share their recommendations and receive feedback prior to the final report,” Figueiredo’s report says.
The Safe Schools: Bullying Prevention and Intervention Review Panel has so far accounted for 26 virtual meetings in 2020.
The panel — conceived just months after the stabbing death of Devan Selvey in October 2019 outside Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School — had originally planned for local in-person community meetings prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The initial plan called for a final report in March but was delayed due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Panellist Dr. Jean Clinton, a clinical professor in the department of psychology, psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences at McMaster University, says the fatal stabbing put the suffering of the Selvey family “front of mind” in each discussion, so far.
“It really has propelled a deep dive into what’s happened,” Clinton told Global News.
The panel includes Clinton as well as Brenda Flaherty, an assistant professor at McMaster’s school of nursing, and Gary Warner, a former professor who has experience with issues related to poverty, human rights, anti-racism, immigration and social justice.
The “Let’s Talk About Bullying” safe schools campaign was to be 15 sessions scheduled between February and March of 2020.
An interim report has already been submitted based on previous sessions and feedback the panel has received so far.