NDP introduces bill for better schools

The official Opposition introduced The Student Bill of Rights Act Thursday, a bill to guarantee students better learning conditions by addressing things like class sizes, bullying and access to one-on-one help.

“It’s unbelievable and frustrating that after a decade-long boom, we don’t have one of the best school systems in the country,” said David Forbes, associate Education critic for the Opposition.

“Many schools are run down and literally crumbling. There’s no real action being taken to stop bullying in schools. And, this government cut hundreds of educational assistants and their numbers have never caught up with the growing student population. We’ve got kids in classes of 30 or more students with no one to turn to for one-on-one help when they need it. All students deserve better, whether they have exceptional learning challenges, or need to be challenged to excel.

“Saskatchewan has had record revenues, and this government has been spending every penny of it and then some, but leaving students without the resources and supports they need. That has to stop. It’s time to prioritize students and education.”

The Student Bill of Rights Act, Bill 611, guarantees that all students enrolled in publicly funded schools have the right to the following: 

  • To attend school in a properly maintained facility;
  • To learn in a classroom that isn’t crowded, with enough desks and space for each child;
  • Individualized help through access to supports like educational assistants;
  • To have any disability properly accommodated;
  • To have a positive and safe school environment, free of bullying;
  • Freedom of conscience, belief and other human rights;
  • To form groups or clubs that promote a safe and inclusive school;
  • To appropriately access the school after hours for sports and programs; and
  • The right to access help for career and future education planning.

The bill ensures students have the right to form a gay-straight alliance, if they want one.

The bill also specifically states that students should be able to any concerns about bullying and intimidation, including cyberbullying that may take place outside of regular school hours, dealt with by the school administration.