Anti-bullying changes proposed for N.B.
Last Updated: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 | 11:45 AM AT
The Opposition Progressive Conservatives will propose new anti-bullying legislation on Wednesday, changes designed to give educators more power to address problem situations.
Tory Leader David Alward is planning on introducing the amendment to the Education Act, although it is unclear whether the Liberal government will endorse the measure.
"It would actually be required by law for principals to report the incident basically to their superintendent," Alward said.
"And basically the other things we're asking for is intervention to be taking place in the form, basically, of awareness and anti-bullying committees to be formed at schools if bullying is occurring."
Under the proposed changes, the definition of bullying would include incidents that occur on school busses. The proposal would also initiate educational programs that show the negative effects of bullying and harassment.
The Department of Education announced in December changes to its policies that give educators leeway to deal with bullies more harshly.
The department also moved bullying and cyber-bullying to a category of serious misconduct .
More teeth to rules
Rob Frenette, a second-year journalism student at NBCC Woodstock and the co-founder of BullyingCanada.ca, said he believes the proposed changes will make anti-bullying rules more difficult to alter.
Frenette has hounded politicians for years trying to reform the rules that cover schoolyard bullies.
"I've been lobbying this province four or five years now trying to get this implemented. So I'm hoping they'll put party lines aside and look out for the interests of all New Brunswick students," he said.
Frenette began his fight to change the province's bullying rules four years ago when he was a student at Bathurst High School.
Frenette said he loathed going to school because he was routinely taunted about his limp caused by cerebral palsy.
He decided to turn his anger into action and he eventually formed the anti-bullying organization.
The college student said the goal of the legislation is not to have bullies feel like they're being harassed by principals.
"My hopes are not to have the bullies feel like they are being picked on by having this legislation introduced but instead making sure they understand the fact that bullying hurts everyone involved and that it takes a group effort to combat the situation," Frenette said in a statement posted on his website.
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