Saskatoon City Council set to debate bullying bylaw
Council being asked to support anti-bullying bylaw
Bullying will be front and centre Monday evening at city hall in Saskatoon.
If Councillor Ann Iwanchuk gets her way, bullies in Saskatoon will be soon be fined for their bad behaviour.
We are seeing an increase in bullying- Councillor Ann Iwanchuk
Tonight, Saskatoon City Council will vote on drafting an anti-bullying bylaw.
"We are seeing an increase in bullying, in the schools particularly," said Iwanchuk.
Last spring, a number of community groups, including the Avenue Community Centre, started circulating a petition, asking that a bylaw be put in place.
Police believe bylaw would be a valuable tool
The city's police force is also on board. In a letter to council, Police Chief Clive Weighill said a bylaw program would be able to deal with bullying much faster than the courts.
Weighill also noted that any bylaw infraction could force bullies and their parents to attend a hearing, and possibly mediation with victims.
Council would still need to vote on the new bylaw if the motion succeeds.
Education is important, retired cop says
Brian Trainor, a retired Saskatoon Police Service sergeant, said his message to council is that this is a needed intermediary step for the police.
Something more than a stiff finger wag is required- Brian Trainor
"This is a middle ground tool that they need something to bridge the gap between a criminal offence and nothing,” Trainor said. "As a police officer, I recall dealing with many incidents of bullying and abuse and aggression and not having anything other than a criminal code charge to lay. At times that’s not warranted, yet something more than a stiff finger wag is required. So I think a bullying bylaw is just the perfect solution to such a situation."
While Trainor supports the creation of a bullying bylaw, he said education for bullies is just as important.
"The education component that I really emphasize is to involve the Saskatoon Rotary Club’s Restorative Action Program (RAP) that is in six or seven high schools in the city right now," Trainor said. "I would like to see somebody that was found guilty or plead guilty to say a charge under the bullying bylaw have mandatory participation in a RAP program to teach them how to change their behaviour so that they don’t find themselves back in front of the courts.”