The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) welcomed the Ontario government’s proposed Accepting Schools Act, saying that it will build on current efforts to create safe schools and address bullying behaviour. The bill proposes to directly address bullying of all kinds, including bullying related to gender identity and sexual orientation as well as race, ancestry, colour, religion, and disability.
“We particularly welcome the proposals that would more clearly support the role of Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) organizations at the school level,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “We also believe the commitment to provide teachers with the necessary training and resources related to early intervention will have a direct and positive impact in creating a safe school environment for all students.
“By creating legal obligations for school boards to address bullying prevention, intervention, education and discipline- up to and including expulsion of a student- the bill builds on current policy established by the Safe Schools Act,” added Hammond. “It also signals that the government is serious about ending bullying and that bullying is a shared responsibility among school boards, staff, students and parents.”
“We are pleased the government is committed to strengthening reporting responsibilities. We look forward to ensuring the bill will effectively address our members’ longstanding concerns related to timely and effective responses to bullying incidents,” Hammond said.
ETFO, which represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and educational professionals across Ontario, has promoted a Positive Space Campaign with posters and educational resources about LGBT topics for teachers for over a decade.