March 31, 2014
We write to you today, not as Director and Chairperson, but as a father of two daughters and a grandfather; and as a mother of four sons and a grandmother...we need to talk.
Keeping our children safe is no longer limited to the neighbourhood, the playground and the classroom. Today, the biggest potential threat to the safety and well being of our children is digital technology and the Internet. The inappropriate use of technology has the potential to have a life-altering impact on those entrusted to our care.
Like you, we know that the first priority of all parents is to keep our sons and daughters safe. We, at the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, share that belief and we embrace that responsibility. Every child has the right to a safe and caring learning environment where they can interact with their peers, teachers and other significant adults in a healthy, supportive and Christ-centered environment.
Our concerns have led to the formation of a "We Need to Talk" Parent Series. Each Monday during the month of April, you will receive a newsletter highlighting specific areas of internet safety. The intent of the newsletter is to provide you, as parents and guardians, with key information that you can use on a daily basis to assist us in doing all we can to make internet use a safe and useful tool for learning.
During Education Week, May 5-9, 2014, we will reinforce the message by implementing the "We Need to Talk" Student Series which will focus on Cyber Bullying, Sexting and Profile Protection. Students in Grades 4-8 will take part in a system wide, three-part series on internet safety. The material covered in the Student Series will also be made available to you for sharing via your school website, your parish and through the Board's website at catholicboard.ca.
This letter is just a beginning; an effort to begin a conversation and articulate a plan. We are offering you the tools to sit down with your children and say, "We Need To Talk". Let us engage them with love and respect. In so doing, we will promote self-confidence and self-respect. These are the two critical components to the well being of our children. We trust that you will agree and that you will join us in this most important venture.
Paul A. Picard Barbara Holland
Director of Education Chairperson of the Board