Faye Sonier: Ontario’s bullying response to bullying

24 Sep 2012 Faye Sonier: Ontario’s bullying response to bullying

National Post, Sept 24 2012: Ontario’s Bill 13 came into effect Sept. 1 of the current school year. It’s fair to say that we can expect changes in the school system, as well as a few lawsuits.

During the last year’s debates over the anti-bullying legislation, I argued that the government of Ontario didn’t have to violate the rights of some Ontarians in order to protect the rights of others. I believed that Bill 13 could be amended to ensure safer schools without violating the religious freedom rights of Catholic schools. Mr. McGuinty didn’t agree.

The bill was controversial for a number of reasons. First, its stated intent was to reduce bullying in schools, but the measures selected did not reflect the issues identified in Canadian bullying statistics. The bill legislated four types of student clubs — clubs that promoted gender equity, anti-racism efforts, awareness for people with disabilities and gay straight alliances (GSAs). However, studies demonstrate that students are largely bullied for reasons other than those mandated in the bill. One study found that two-thirds of all cases of bullying are based on body image issues, academic grades or cultural background. Similar trends were found in cases of cyber-bullying. Keep reading


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