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Welcome to the ESP Discussion Board! Feel free to submit interesting stories, announcements, and questions for others to read and reply to.

It's simple! Just use the form below to submit your questions and comments to other students, the Central Student Committee, Divisional Police Officers and program co-ordinators.

Once recieved, your message will be read and replied to or posted within twenty-four hours.

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For immediate information, please call 416-808-7430
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Discussion Board

Okay you guys all seem to have addressed bullying at one time or another as a big issue but you guys have never thought about the bullying done to kids in special E.D. programs. I should know.........Always as a little kid I was bullied for being in a special E.D. program. I didn't have any friends and I felt very alone in the world. I remember crying every night before I went to bed. As I started middle school I made friends and got out of my depression. This is a topic close to my heart that I feel needs to be adressed. In grade 7 I brought a learning disabled support group into my school called Integra. It really moved people and made a big impact on my school. Integra is located in Toronto. If you think this is an issuse that doesn't affect your school well it does. Did you know that for every 5 people in the U.S. 3 have learning disabilities? For more info you can vist their website at
Thanks for your time.

Hey everyone! The E.S.P. Committee at East York Collegiate this year is great. We have over 20 members, which is a big improvement from last year, and have done many events, including; cupcake giveaways, hallowe'en patrol and more. We look forward to seeing everyone at the E.S.P. events this year! Remember, the best way to fix a problem is to help solve it.

Response from Michelle Martin, ESP Operations Manager

Hi there!
Thank you so much for your very positive message about your ESP Team at East York Collegiate this year! That’s just wonderful news. I am very happy that your committee is so big and you are so involved in so many great activities. Your message that the best way to fix a problem is to help solve it is exactly the message that we want ESP to give to other schools and communities. I will post your email on the ESP website today so others can read your positive message!

Take care and keep up the great work!


We are looking for ideas to help address the issue of weapons in our school. Any suggestions??

Response from PC Diana Korn-Hassani - Toronto Police Service
When weapons are brought to school there are layers to this fact that need to be addressed. Why are they bringing weapons to school in the first place? What are the issues?
To start to unravel why you might want to do a survey that asks the question: Why do you think a student would bring a weapon to school?
a) to be cool
b)for protection
please elaborate__________________
(The question is asked this way as we are not accusing anyone - you are asking students to think of why someone would, they may actually know someone who does and why they do and respond accordingly - or they may in fact carry one themselves and then answer for themselves).

So what are the layers?

If the answer is to be cool, you are looking at self esteem issues.
If the answer is for protection - then you are looking at bullying issues.
If the answer is other - they'll tell you what it is.

In general, weapons coming to school mean that the subject of violence needs to be addressed.
First of all the school may wish to remind students what a weapon is according to school policy and what the school rules are regarding possession of one.
As far as the law is concerned anything that is used to hurt someone, ie. even someone's running shoe for example would be considered a weapon and the charge would be 'assault with a weapon'. The law takes into account violence in general as it considers all 'things' used to hurt a person a weapon.

The message for students is that carrying a weapon can have dire

For example a student is being bullied and feeling badly, so to feel better they carry a knife, only for protection not intending to use it. However, the next time they are confronted by the bully out comes the knife - the variations of what may happen are not good.

1. If the victim does not use the knife - the victim is still charged by
the police with possession of a weapon-even though they are being bullied. The bully will have consequences as well, however, weapons charges are taken very seriously by the courts.

2. If the victim feels they must use the weapon because the bully won't stop - then the victim is charged with 'assault with a weapon' which is considered a very serious offence by the courts.

3. The bully could produce a similar weapon or bigger and seriously injure the victim.

Street Crime officers can attest to dealing with all these possible
scenarios. I know I did when I was in street crime. None of the possible outcomes of carrying a weapon are positive.

Skits are a good way to show students the possible consequences of carrying a weapon as they probably had not thought of any of theses possible outcomes.
Mixed Company helps students create and present forum plays. ESP students could do this or perhaps a drama class and then present to the school. Once students are aware of what the possible outcomes are of carrying a weapon, a poster contest depicting these possible outcomes could follow - the school could vote on a winner and post it in the show case at school. Show
off all the posters around the school.

I would also suggest addressing the issue of bullying - bringing weapons to school creates an imbalance in power amongst students, whether students intend to use the weapons or not - this is a form of bullying.

I hope this is helpful. Take what you need. Let me know if there is
anything further I can do.


Hi, I'm wondering if any of your ESP schools have a mentoring program for students who need help in school, emotional suport, etc.

I am currently doing a civics project on how to set up a mentoring programe in my school. Thx for ur time, cool site

Response from Cheuk Ying, ESP Central Student Committee and Michelle Martin, Project Coordinator, Canadian Safe School Network

Hi there,

A student from our Central Student Committee wrote the following response to your question:

“Our school has a program called Oolagen. This is a drop in area where students may go to if they have any sorts of trouble and I mean ANY. Either regarding life in general or school. There are two counsellors who would then confindentially talk to the student. I don't know if this is the same thing.”

I think she is referring to a safe place for students to go if they need advice, support or counseling. I also know of ESP programs where the senior students act as mentors for the younger students. They have a room dedicated to ESP and offer advice and support to their Grade 9 & 10 students who are having challenges or want to get involved in projects like ESP. Some schools provide workshops for the senior students on conflict resolution, peer mediation and group facilitation. You can access some of these workshops from Trinity Theatre. Perhaps your school principal or ESP staff advisor could research this company and see if they have the funds to bring them in. Their website address is That way, your senior students will have some training to help the younger students and act as mentors.

There are also some secondary schools that go into their middle schools and offer workshops on ESP and how to keep your school safe. They share ideas and present skits about their experiences in high school. If you would like to set up a mentoring program in your school, perhaps you could follow this model.

Good luck! Thank you for your interest in ESP.

All the best,

I recently started an ESP group at my school and I was wondering if students in Peel Region Schools are allowed to participate in the ESP program?

P.S. COOL SITE! Love it

Response from P.C. Diana Korn-Hassani - Toronto Police:


I am a Police Officer with Toronto Police involved in running the ESP
program across the city of Toronto. We are thrilled when other areas
around the country (as this program will go around the world) are
interested in this fabulous program. We have close to 20 schools in
Sudbury who are running the program this year.
Congratulations on starting something in your school.
A very important component to this program is to have the Police involved. I would suggest that you contact your local Police Division in Peel, that is responsible for dealing with issues in your school and find our which officers deal with youth issues. Explain the program as you see it and by all means refer the officer(s) to me. I would be happy to speak to any officers in Peel region about this program. My phone number is 416-808-7295. If you are able to get the name of an officer and would like me to talk to them, if you provide me with a name and number, I would be happy to call them and see if I can generate interest. This program is about partnerships to make our schools and communities the safest places to be, and the Police component is essential. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Good luck with your endeavour and keep me posted with your progress.

This E.S.P idea is working great for us here at St Mary's. We have started our ESP team and we are very confident about ourselves. Just recently, we have prevented one student from being bullied and due to anonimity they have chosen to keep their names confindential. In conclusion, the message that the team is currently trying to send is that we can all make a difference as long as we try.

Response from Tom Grinnell, Youth ESP Program Advisor

Hey there,

Congratulations on the success of your ESP program at St Mary's. It will be great to see the success stories of your program at the year end showcase!

Bullying is a serious problem in high school. People always seem to forget that others have feelings that can be hurt. The old saying “sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me” is incorrect. Names and bullying does hurt a person. I am happy to hear that your school is taking a stand against bullying. Making everyone feel included and wanted is the best thing you can do. Saying hi, or smiling at fellow students can make or break someone's day! I wish people in my high school were more like that. Looking back, there were so many days where a smile from someone or a hello would have made the day so much nicer.

I hope your ESP group continues to teach other students to be friendly and nice to others. Remember - be proactive!

When it comes to bullying, I would like to suggest a guest speaker to you. His name is Mike Bonnici, you can find his information at at the bottom of the page. He does a very touching story about caring, and why people should care about others. Look into booking him for your school ESP program.

Good Luck

A group of students and myself are trying to get ESP launched at our school but our administrators feel it has a negative connotation, meaning if we need ESP its because we have serious issues at our school. How do we get them to see past this narrowed minded and paranoid mind-set? HELP.

Response from Tom Grinnell, Youth ESP Program Advisor

Hey there,

Everyone faces obstacles they have to overcome when they begin a brand new ESP program. Sometimes it is apathetic students, while other times it may be a negative stereotype about your ESP group. All of these challenges can be overcome.

When dealing with your administration remind them that ESP is a proactive program. It is there to prevent problems from happening, and not because problems already exist. However, the truth of the matter is that all schools have some sort of challenges. ESP is there to make the school a better place. Things you do in your school do not necessarily have to address a prevailing problem, although you should make an attempt at doing this. However, you can do something simple like raffling off cakes, or selling candy-grams in the cafeteria. These events don't outwardly display anything to make the school look bad. ESP is about building community, because that is how we achieve safety.

Remind your administrators that over 100 schools across Toronto participate in the program. It is not that these schools have admitted to having safety problems, it is more that they want to build community, and partnerships that will make everyone more friendly and happier. Being proactive, getting to know the student body, making people interact with one another is the key to safety, and prevention of crime. People are less likely to do harm to someone they have talked to in the halls, or said hi to. Whereas if you never get the chance to know others, it is much easier for people to be mean to one another.

My suggestion is to try and talk more to your administration. Bring up the points I have mentioned. Remind them that ESP is there to prevent problems from happening. It would look better on the administration to have an active ESP program, versus no ESP program because like I said before, over 100 schools across Toronto have already realized that ESP is a positive experience.

If you cannot get results from any of this, it does not hurt to talk to other members of the staff and get as many of them as you can on your side. Explain to them the benefits of the program, and assemble a team that can show the administration there is support for ESP in your school.

And finally, if this doesn't work, contact someone with the Board of Education. They are partners in ESP who recognize and actively participate in administering the program. ESP is 100% supported by your school board if you go to any school in the city of Toronto.

Good Luck,