Students should be supported in schools by educators who are respectful and knowledgeable, and who can provide them with valuable referrals and resources. They also need to know what professionals they can talk to about personal matters. Educators should consult their administrators for information about available support resources for students in their board.
As part of facilitating a community of respectful learners, educators should emphasize to their students that the privacy of others must be maintained in the classroom. This is particularly relevant when teaching healthy living, because the subject matter may naturally lead to sensitive conversations.
When students feel safe and accepted in inclusive school environments, they will sometimes share personal information or discuss personal matters with their peers and teachers. If a student’s comments raise questions or concerns about his/her safety (i.e., violence, harassment, abuse, substance use, or sexual behaviours that may put them at risk of harm to their body, body image, self-esteem, or mental health), educators should talk with that student individually at an appropriate time. Understanding the context of the information shared is a crucial step in determining what, if any, action the educator needs to take.
All school boards have Pathways to Care policies and procedures outlining recommended actions that educators, administrators, and other staff should take when a student may be in need of support. These resources outline the tools available within the local community to support student mental health and well-being. Educators should seek support from their administrators while accessing these supports.