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Support To Stay In School

Put measures in place to help ensure that the educational environment is free of dangers and violence.

Aboriginal youth told us that it is difficult to concentrate on school when you are afraid to be there or are consistently on guard for fear of threats of violence. Bullying, harassment, and other threats of violence must be removed from the educational environments if they are expected to be successful.

Organize Aboriginal youth seminars, conferences and other learning opportunities outside of the school environment.

Aboriginal youth felt that there was a wealth of information, which they were missing out on. Many spoke about the benefit of youth conferences where they felt they could speak out on issues that concern them as well as learning about "life issues" such as HIV and AIDS, STD's, culture and health.

Enforce policies in the school which hold teachers and students to fair and non-judgmental behavior.

Aboriginal youth felt that many of the issues they faced in the school system was directly related to the fact that many of their colleagues and teachers did not have an understanding of their culture. Negative school environments that did not punish negative or racist behavior contributed to feelings of low self-esteem, increased violence and the potential for Aboriginal youth to drop out.

Create Aboriginal schools in Calgary which operate programs from K to 12.

Some Aboriginal youth felt that they would be more successful in Aboriginal schools that mirrored a community or family atmosphere. Keeping students together from K to 12 would give older youth a chance to act as role models for the younger students. In addition, keeping students together would create a more supportive atmosphere, thereby decreasing feelings of alienation.

Operate support programs in all schools with a high Aboriginal population.

Aboriginal youth were extremely supportive of both the Native Pride Program as well as the Aboriginal Students Program. They knew of fellow students who received a great deal of support through this type of programming and recommended all school operate similar services.

Have the resources and staff to support Aboriginal youth to return to school.

Youth we spoke to knew of other students who had dropped out of school. Some were currently trying to return back to school themselves. They were also aware of the lack of supports necessary for Aboriginal youth to return to school if they chose. This included but is not limited to childcare services, part time employment, housing and alternate school systems.The Discovering Choices School was recognized as such a service.