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Saskatoon Student Facilitators Seeing Increase With Kids Struggling With Mental Healthf

The demand for the Restorative Action Program (RAP) in Saskatoon is on the rise, reflecting the challenges students face with their mental health.

Leane Durand, the president of RAP Saskatoon, highlighted the role of their facilitators as crucial bridges, providing a non-judgmental and supportive space for students dealing with conflicts.

“Our facilitators create a trusted, judgment-free space with a focus on one-on-one relationship building and conflict resolution,” explained Durand.

She emphasized that this need is particularly pronounced among Grade 9 students, observing a noticeable uptick in situations this year. Durand illustrated a scenario where a group of girls decides to ostracize one girl, illustrating how such dynamics can escalate to the point where the isolated individual opts to skip school, triggering further complications.

RAP Saskatoon addresses a spectrum of situations, ranging from what might be considered minor drama to more escalated instances involving violence and potential weapon use. All facilitators are trained professionals holding degrees in social work or education, with additional training in conflict management.

Durand noted an increased enrollment in schools but attributed the heightened demand to the lingering impact of pandemic-induced isolation and the influence of social media.

While the program operates in 11 high schools in Saskatoon, concerns about violence in classrooms across the province were raised earlier in the year. Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation president Samantha Becotte acknowledged a rise in classroom violence in July, attributing it to the complexity of class dynamics and students lacking necessary resources.

Becotte advocated for additional professional supports for students, asserting the right of both teachers and students to a safe classroom environment.

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