Anti-bullying policy updated by N.L. government
Government updates policy to address cyberbullying and sexting
The Newfoundland and Labrador government has made changes to a policy aimed at making schools safer from bullying to address issues surrounding cyberbullying and sexting.
"It's an issue that plagues our entire society, and it will take all of us working together to put an end to it," said education minister Clyde Jackman.
The province's Safe and Caring Schools Policy was originally released in 2006, but Rachel Whelan, a Grade 11 student at Bishops College in St. John's, said times have changed.
"More people are into their phones and their computers now, and people find it a lot easier to confront someone on a computer screen than face-to-face," said Whelan.
Revisions include province-wide database
Teachers, students, and police took part in the consultation to bring the original 2006 policy up to date.
The revisions include new bullying intervention protocols and a code of conduct. Schools will become responsible for tracking bullying incidents in a province-wide database.
Jackman said those changes have become necessary changes because the landscape for bullying has changed.
"I'll use the example of sexting," said Jackman.
"The technology is changing so fast that five years ago, I don't think anyone would've known what that term means. But we know now, and therefore we have to teach the proper etiquette and responsibilities that go with it."
Questions on implementation
Nathan Whalen, the president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils, said he wonders who will do the work.
"We really want to see government put the money where their mouth is, and show us that they believe that this needs to be implemented, by putting back the 160 teachers and administrators into our schools," said Whalen.
"I think that that's really how we're going to be able to create better, safe and caring schools in this province."
Jackman said he plans to introduce legislation on the policy sometime this week, and government has been aiming to have the Safe and Caring Schools Policy fully implemented in schools by September 2014.