Monday, June 04, 2007

Bullying Illegal: Key Concerns

Yet another positive in the field of education by the Ontario Liberals, and good on the Opposition to support such a bill.
Bullying officially illegal under schools act

Students who engage in physical or online bullying could be suspended or expelled under changes to Ontario’s Safe Schools Act that unanimously passed third and final reading today in the provincial legislature.
The key words in the phrase above are "could be".

  • As we have seen in the latest school shooting in Toronto, such laws are only good if the punishments are enforced. How will the Ministry or the school boards monitor how schools deal with reports of infractions?

  • How will the law deal with regular offenders? It's not clear - everything seems to be wishy-washy optimism.
    “These amendments would ensure there are strong consequences for inappropriate behaviour,” said [ Education Minister] Wynne
    ... but ...
    “The legislation will more effectively combine discipline and opportunity for students to continue their education,” Wynne told the legislature during third reading debate.
    ... but ...
    “I think we have to find ways to take people who are repeat offenders and make sure what we don’t do is put them out on the street and have them out of the school system,” [Conservative Leader] Tory said.

    “Then they’re almost guaranteed to have a life that is going to go the wrong way, and I think we’ve seen what the consequences of that can be.”
    I don't understand.

  • This is the first time "online" has been added to the legislature. Are schools overstepping their authority here? What if I have a blog and I bitch about my high school classmate? Is it bullying now?

Education is one of the key fields this Liberal government has come up trumps. There hasn't been a labour disruption that I can remember, which was a regularity under the Harris years. Nor has there been any serious concerns as far as schools and spaces are concerned. The Liberals should own this area in the upcoming election, and continue to remind parents how good and peaceful their children's school has been under them.

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