The strategy, called ERASE (Expect Respect And a Safe Education) Bullying, is set to be in place for the 2012/13 school year.
“It’s important that people be trained to understand the nature of bullying, and make sure that they understand how to step in,” Clark said Friday at a news conference in Surrey.
The strategy commits one of teachers’ six existing professional development days to anti-bullying training, and will also introduce new anti-bullying and threat assessment curriculum for students studying to be teachers.
“The people who are dealing with bullies in schools have to understand that you don’t find a normal resolution between the bully and the victim,” the former Education Minister said.
“It’s not a question of trying to find some accommodation between the two. One is a perpetrator, and one is a victim, and the victim needs support. The perpetrator needs consequences.”
The province passed legislation in 2007 requiring all school districts to adopt codes of conduct prohibiting discrimination based on: race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex or sexual orientation, or age.
Vancouver West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert, a vocal advocate of stronger policies to specifically protect LGBTQ students, said while the strategy is a good step, he still wants to see homophobic bullying brought up explicitly with students across B.C., not just teachers.
So far, 15 out of B.C.’s 60 school districts have policies that specifically prohibit and explain what constitutes homophobic bullying.
“You can’t just say ‘Don’t be a bully.’ They’ve been trying that for a long time,” Chandra Herbert said.
“You have to get explicit about why people are being bullied and ensure that we’re educating our youth, as well as our teachers, who do get a fair bit of education on this already, about valuing diversity.”
The 10-point ERASE Bullying strategy includes new online tools for students and parents, including a SmartPhone app for kids to report bullying anonymously, similar to an existing online anti-bullying reporting program, stopabully.ca.
A new website with resources, called ERASEbullying.ca, will be launched in September, 2012.
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