Sunday, December 18, 2011

Anti-bullying legislation

Ever since the Accepting Schools Act was introduced in the House, there has been article after article with a focus on the acceptance of gay-straight alliances. While we’re at it, why don’t we have a learning disabled alliance, or an alliance for children with physical disabilities. I am a firm believer that publicly funded schools must respect the rights and freedoms of all students, however this legislation has omitted the most important aspect of what is expected by parents when they drop their children off at school. Duty of care is a requirement that a person act toward others and the public with watchfulness, attention, caution and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would. If a person’s actions do not meet this standard of care, then the actions are considered negligent.

I invite readers to satisfy themselves and compare the Accepting Schools Act to Bill 14, which actually has some teeth to it.

Our school boards are publicly funded, self-governing corporations. Our hard earned tax dollars support our schools. It is the sole responsibility of adults to curb the problem of bullying. A CEO of any corporation is responsible to its shareholders, yet the same cannot be said for our Boards of Education. The only reason a child suffers long-term aggression at the hands of their peers is because the adults in control are allowing it to continue. Our publicly funded school boards are the only corporations in existence where accountability does not exist. Ask yourself why.

We can have as many gay-straight or learning disabled alliances as we want, but this won’t induce some of our administrators from using their conscience or prevent them from interpreting policy in a way that would suit their needs. If you don’t believe this is actually taking place, just speak to any parent whose child suffered from long-term aggression at the hands of their peers. I have, and this folks is the common denominator. I can't tell you how many times I heard "my hands are tied". What does this actually mean?

As with any successful business, “if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it”, which is very important at tracking what’s working and what isn’t. Sadly, this too is not taking place. Why - I've been told this would cost too much money. We have already spent 230 million in this province without any discernible change.

So, while we are teaching our kids inclusiveness, acceptance, compassion and empathy, we should be turning our focus to the adults within the system who are not doing their job.

I'm just saying.