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Press Release

Bill 13 - Minority government works to prevent, stop bullying in schools

Canada NewsWire

TORONTO, June 5, 2012 /CNW/ - The passage today of Bill 13, the Accepting Schools Act, improves schools' ability to prevent and stop student bullying, according to the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO).  The amendments to the bill demonstrate that minority governments can be productive when there is cooperation among the parties.

"The bill certainly strengthens the policies and strategies needed to effectively address incidents of student bullying," said ETFO President Sam Hammond. "For example, the legislation requires more diligence on the part of principals to investigate and report back on such incidents."

"We believe it's important that the legislation requires professional development on bullying prevention for classroom teachers and other school staff," said Hammond.  "However that training needs to be adequately funded if it's to be effective."

"Just as all teachers are expected to stand up against racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination, so too must they stand up and protect students from homophobia and transphobia," added Hammond. "We're pleased that neither a board nor principal may prevent students from using the name 'gay-straight alliance' if they wish to start such a student organization."

ETFO recently hosted a first-ever symposium for Grades 7 and 8 teachers who want to start GSAs in their schools.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.