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Tools for student groups: developing accountable and healthy group norms

Supportive group spaces allow students and staff to come as their whole selves, knowing they can express and be themselves without judgement from their peers. A lack of such spaces can greatly impact Black, Indigenous, racialized and other marginalized people who often experience harm (microaggression, discrimination, etc.).  

For spaces to be supportive, all group members must understand their role in combatting racism, discrimination and harm. This requires both tools to notice and call attention to harmful actions and know how to respond when harm is caused. Creating group norms provides groups with the tools to develop protocols to address these matters (e.g., conflicts, harm, and accountability) in a healthy and agreed way.   

The following posters focus on building accountable group norms that address how to call attention to harmful situations and respond when you have caused harm. Both posters are guides and require a group discussion and collaboration to determine how to adapt and make group norms that are most appropriate and supportive to your context. 

Do make these tools your own, for your group.

These resources were developed in collaboration with Assembly of Seven Generations and Wisdom2Action. The information and visuals presented have been adapted from Lukayo. It is considered community knowledge and was taught to Lukayo by Melanie Jubinville-Stafford. 

CLA(I)M – How to respond when you’ve caused harm

Understanding and responding when we have done wrong is essential to building supportive, safer, and mentally healthy spaces for every student. This is especially important for allies of those who are at a greater risk of experiencing harm such as 2S/LGBTQIA+, racialized, newcomer, and Indigenous people.  

This resource includes a poster and supporting document on steps groups can follow that guide individuals through an open and transparent process when they are made aware of the negative impact of their words or actions. 

As an ally, how you respond when you’ve caused harm can allow for healing and growth and can strengthen relationships when navigated appropriately.

How To Call Attention to a Harmful Situation

This resource includes a poster and supporting information on how to develop norms that foster more supportive spaces at school. 

Historically and presently, many school settings are not supportive for Black, Indigenous, racialized, disabled and 2S and LGBTQIA+ students and staff, which directly impacts their mental health.  

To build the capacity for diverse students and staff to care for their mental health, learning environments must be affirming and supportive. To support students with diverse identities, each of us must reflect on how to become allies. This resource provides steps on how to safely call attention to a harmful situation, and better support those who experience harm.