Saskatoon council to consider anti-bullying bylaw
Teen who was bullied for being gay sees need for such a statute
Saskatoon city council has voted to draft an anti-bullying bylaw.
The decision is welcome news for a gay teenager who said he was picked on in elementary school.
Chance Briere, 17, said he was constantly taunted by classmates because of his sexual orientation.
"They would just really call me gay," he said. "It would be like, 'You're gay, aren't you Chance? You're pretty gay, Chance. Why are you so gay?' And they would say rude things like 'faggot.'"
Briere said he started acting differently, feeling that he had to change so people would stop making fun of him.
He said he was scared and kept quiet about it until a suicide attempt brought his pain into the open.
"I really think it'll give the police the tools ... to handle situations like that, in really defining what is bullying in the city, and setting those parameters," Briere said.
He said if an anti-bullying bylaw was in place when he was younger it would have helped Briere speak out.
Anti-bullying bylaw in Eston
In April 2013, the town of Eston, Sask. passed an anti-bullying bylaw. So far one bully and a person who encouraged bullying have been fined. A handful of other complaints led to mediation.
RCMP Const. Dean Kletzel asked for the bylaw in Eston, and handles complaints.
"It's brought it to the light where kids that are feeling like they're being bullied feel like they have somebody to talk to, and feel like something's going to get done about it," Kletzel said.
Retired Saskatoon police sergeant and anti-bullying consultant Brian Trainor also favours a bylaw, but one that does more than just impose fines.
He wants to see a bylaw that channels offenders into the Restorative Action Program that operates in several high schools.
Trainor said one solution is "an education program to teach them how to change their behaviour so that they don't find themselves back in front of the courts."
He adds a bylaw would be a useful step between no action and a criminal charge.