St. Michael's College School

Our respect and culture journey

Following recent tragic events at St. Michael’s College School, we are committed to building a culture of respect and positivity. This site is our hub for news, updates on our action plan, and feedback from our community.

It is our hope that, together with our community, we can turn these painful events into an opportunity of learning, healing, and change.

We want to hear from you about how we can improve and strengthen a culture of respect and positivity at our school.


STATEMENT – October 3, 2019

Today, St. Michael’s College School was informed that the court cases involving three former students were heard.

The school is abiding by the court-imposed publication ban and as such will not provide any further comment.

As a community, we continue to pray for the victims and their families and all those involved in these cases.

As we move forward on our respect and culture journey, our goal remains resolute – to ensure the safety and well-being of our students. We remain focused and committed to implementing all of the recommendations outlined in the independent Respect and Culture Review Committee’s final report.

Rev. Andrew Leung, CSB

Interim President


STATEMENT – August 15, 2019

Receiving the St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) Respect and Culture Review Committee’s Final Report propels us into a new phase in our ongoing journey of learning, healing and change.

We are tremendously grateful to the Independent Review Committee for its diligence, effort and objectivity in undertaking a comprehensive review of our school’s traditions, social and cultural practices.

Their work enables us to methodically address the underlying issues identified in a positive, meaningful and sustainable way – using best practices and evidence-based strategies that we believe will help SMCS to be a best-in-class educational institution.

Our goal remains unwavering – to ensure the safety and well-being of our students.

We also remain committed to adopting these recommendations as had been outlined when our Board of Directors mandated the Committee’s work last December.

The report is extremely detailed and thorough. It draws on:

  • Voluntary, anonymous surveys completed by current and past students, staff and parents,
  • Over 70 in-person interviews,
  • Many more written submissions, and
  • A town hall hosted by the Committee in May, for the entire SMCS community

The feedback provides key insights and a more complete picture into the extent of the issues – both current and historical. Its 36 recommendations will be vital in helping us chart a future course with clear objectives and tangible deliverables.

Findings

We are pleased to learn of the Committee’s findings that hazing, in its most extreme form, is not a significant part of the school’s culture. It will however be addressed. At the same time, we are deeply concerned that bullying is a systemic issue. While the numbers are comparable to boys of similar age across the country, this is not acceptable. We must and will do better.

Key Themes

One of our key takeaways is the need for a comprehensive strategy to address bullying. We also need to put the supports in place to implement this and bring it to life so that we can, as a community, continue to improve over time.

Another is the need for greater transparency, inclusion and education in all of our policies and proposed changes. We will continue to bring everyone in our community into the process of finding solutions. We will also provide all students and faculty with the support, information and tools they need to both intervene and prevent bullying.

Actions

A series of foundational steps have already begun being put in place through our Action Plan, since last December. These are critical building blocks upon which many of the Committee’s recommendations will rest.

Through the Committee’s interim report, released in May, and our own learnings on this journey, we have begun to address many of the themes included in the recommendations, including: developing a comprehensive bullying prevention and intervention strategy, a review of various policies and guidelines, as well as re-organizing the athletic and co-curricula programmes including our football programme.

Plenty of important work lies ahead, as we strive to be the change by leading it.

We understand the effort required and remain resolute in our aim to strengthen our culture of respect and safety – for our students, staff and the entire St. Michael’s College School community.

In making this report public, we hope that other educational institutions can benefit from its recommendations.

Bullying at SMCS needs to be addressed as it does across the country. Canada ranks 27th out of 31 countries on rates of being bullied. We all have a responsibility to ensure that our children and young people grow up in safe, supportive and caring environments.

It is indeed a time for renewal.

We embrace with confidence the blueprint provided by the SMCS Respect and Culture Review Committee — to make that renewal a reality.

Sincerely,

Rev. Andrew Leung, CSB, Interim President
On Behalf of the Board of Directors

FINAL REPORT of the Independent Respect and Culture Review Committee

FINAL REPORT – Executive Summary and Recommendations

Please find below a video address from Fr. Andrew Leung, CSB, Interim President:


Previous Announcements

SMCS Statement – August 6, 2019

SMCS Update on Football Programme

Respect and Culture Review Town Hall Meeting

St. Michael’s College School appoints new Principal

Message from the President


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Recent Ideas

  • Time to shift from crisis management to vision leadership

    Time to get back to long term thinking and engage LEADERS, faculty and students, at all levels. Let us now write the article we would wish the media would publish 10 years from now. What would we wish they say…

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  • Response to May 30 meeting

    Thanks for yesterday’s meeting. It was informative and helpful in presenting the good work that you have done to date. I have two further queries/suggestions to be included in the final report: 1). the ambiguity of sport: sports can of…

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  • More communication

    At the time of the incident, the school did an excellent job in communicating status of events, upcoming changes, etc. However, communication over the last few months has almost disappeared. The only communication we seem to receive is about the…

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  • A Note of Thanks

    Dear Father Leung, We are very pleased (and so are most parents) with all that the school Administration is doing to guide and discipline our boys in order to ensure that they become good St. Michael’s Men. I am so…

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  • Has St. Mike’s gone too far?

    I am writing to you with express concern about the distrustful and suspicious culture that I feel the school has created following the unfortunate incident at the end of first term. Because of the poor decisions of 6-8 boys (who…

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