For Immediate Release
December 3, 2013
MHA welcomes government action on bullying but questions program funding
St. John’s—St. John’s North MHA Dale Kirby is welcoming the proposed amendments to the Schools Act, 1997 which will define and seek to address bullying in schools. The amendments to be debated in the House of Assembly this week will require every school to have a school code of conduct and require teachers, principals, school councils, school boards, and directors to promote a safe and caring learning environment.
“I am pleased to see that the Minister of Education has finally agreed to make these needed changes to the legislation,” says Kirby. “On May 14, 2012, I introduced a private member’s motion in the House of Assembly in order to enshrine anti-bullying measures in the province’s Schools Act. It’s great to see some progress on this issue.”
With the new legislation coming into force in the near future, Kirby says there is still much work to be done to ensure that schools are safe and that there are proper procedures and consequences when bullying occurs in schools. In addition, Kirby is concerned that schools do not currently have the resources to fully implement this initiative.
“After this year’s teacher cuts, the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers Association (NLTA) School Administrators’ Council (SAC) pointed out that increases in responsibility for the implementation of new policies related to school councils, healthy and active living, safe and caring schools, inclusive education, My Gay-Straight Alliance, KinderStart, 21st Century Learning, instructional technology integration, accounting and controls, electronic report cards, school security, building maintenance, as well as others have stretched existing school resources to the breaking point,” says Kirby.
“No student should be placed at risk of being targeted and victimized because of a school environment where bullying goes unchallenged,” Kirby said. “Teachers and school staff need the resources to ensure that proper preventative measures are in place, along with clear protocols for reporting incidents of school bullying.”
For more information, please contact:
Dale Kirby, MHA