Toronto - Safe and Caring Schools Weeks kicks off in Toronto District School Board (TDSB) schools on September 10, 2007, and runs through to September 21. These two weeks provide an opportunity for staff to focus on safe schools initiatives and celebrate the outstanding partnerships and programs that are in place to promote harmony and respect in our schools.

Collaborative, community-engaged programs are making a difference in our schools. Programs such as Empowered Student Partnerships (ESP), Public Education and Crime Eradication (PEACE), among many others, develop and strengthen inclusive learning environments and promote student leadership.

PEACE is a program for Grades 7 to 9 students that educates them about making the right choices and rejecting violence. Supported by the government of Ontario, Toronto Police Service, Crime Stoppers, Toronto school boards, and community and youth leaders, the program includes presentations in schools by community police officers.

ESP is a youth-guided initiative in partnership with the Toronto Police Service, the Toronto-area school boards, ProAction, Cops & Kids, the Canadian Safe School Network, and the City of Toronto. Students are empowered to take steps to solve problems specific to their schools by utilizing programs or guest speakers available to them through the Toronto Police Services.

During Safe and Caring Schools Weeks, schools will also be engaged in a variety of drills and exercises that will prepare staff and students for a safe school year.

“The Toronto District School Board is committed to making each and every one of its schools a caring place that is safe for learning,” says Director of Education Gerry Connelly. “At the TDSB, Safe and Caring Schools Week is every week and we want to ensure that our programs reflect that.”