NDP introduces anti-bullying act

The official Opposition introduced a bill Thursday that will ensure students who request a Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA, also known as a Gay-Straight Alliance) at school cannot be denied.

The Respect for Diversity - Student Bill of Rights Act also gives students the right to have any cyber-bullying or other bullying concerns properly addressed by their school administration; and that students have the right to have any disability appropriately accommodated.

The act will apply to all schools that receive public funding.

All three actions were clauses in an Opposition education bill introduced last week, which also called for smaller class sizes, more educational assistant support for students and timely repairs to school buildings. The government refused to debate that bill, challenging it on the grounds that it would cost money to improve schools, and arguing that only ministers are entitled to make budgetary allocations.

“Every student in Saskatchewan, regardless of factors like where they live and what their school community looks like, should be guaranteed fundamental rights,” said David Forbes, NDP critic for Diversity, Equality and Human Rights, who introduced the bill. “We should be entrenching best practices for preventing discrimination and bullying, and promising that those best practices will be followed for every student.”