The Ontario Anti-Bullying Framework and Its Potential Impact on Indigenous Students in Northern Ontario.

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O'Loughlin, Robyn Alexandria




Critical reflection of the term 'bullying' and the behaviours that define the term are rarely criticized in mainstream society. In 2012, the Ontario anti-bullying framework came into effect under the Education Act. The underlying message of the framework is that bullying behaviour is not tolerated, thus the buy-in message for all Ontarians is that all students are protected in school. This is not always the case for Indigenous students. My research and dissertation explore how northern educators understand the Ontario anti-bullying framework policies and how the framework impacts colonial relationships. The sample in this study consists of 12 educators (10 teachers, 1 vice-principal and 1 principal) working in northern Ontario. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, and data were analyzed through a multi-grounded theoretical approach. The participants shared their personal background, their understanding of Indigenous history and politics, and their understanding of the anti-bullying framework. Many themes emerged from examination of the data. The theme of minimizing serious behaviour as simply 'bullying' is of particular importance. This study found that the term 'bullying' may be used by teachers or administrators to minimize instances or severity of violence, harassment and racism (against Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth). Furthermore, even though participants appreciated Indigenous history and culture, they did not apply that knowledge in their approach to bullying but instead relied on the mainstream definition of bullying. The cumulative impact suggests a new theoretical insight — reliance on the mainstream discourse of bullying may reproduce settler colonial foundations of the education system.


Education - Secondary
Teacher Training
Native American Studies




Carleton University

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Legal Studies

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Theses and Dissertations

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