Province Takes Action on Bullying, Cyberbullying

Department of Education (to March 26, 2013)

April 18, 2012 2:51 PM

The province is amending the Education Act and working with students and other partners to help protect young people from bullying and cyberbullying.

The legislation, An Act to Address Bullying by Promoting Respectful and Responsible Relationships, was introduced today, April 18. It is an important first step to addressing the recommendations of the Report of the Nova Scotia Task Force on Bullying and Cyberbullying.

"The province is taking steps with our partners to help with the problems of bullying and cyberbullying -- as we said we would as part of Kids and Learning First," said Education Minister Ramona Jennex. "Amending the Education Act will provide a framework for us, as a society, to work on an action plan to help protect young people."

In addition to introducing legislation, the province is calling on students to submit videos and other visuals, music and other contributions, to help create the province's public awareness campaign about the issue of bullying.

"What better voices than those of our youth to be part of this campaign?" Students live with the reality of bullying, and a campaign based on their work will most certainly resonate with Nova Scotians," said Ms. Jennex.

Students will have four weeks to submit entries, with selected pieces to be used to create the campaign for the 2012-13 school year. More details about the campaign will be announced in May.

The province will appoint an anti-bullying co-ordinator from government or one of the school boards to work with partners to co-ordinate the province's action plan on bullying and cyberbullying.

The proposed amendments will require school boards to collect, monitor and report data on severely disruptive behaviour. This will help school boards and the province monitor the scope and consequences of bullying and cyberbullying to evaluate programs and intervention strategies. The province's student information system, iNSchool, will be used to track incidents of disruptive and severely disruptive behaviour.

The amendments will update the language in the Education Act, replacing references to a policy on student discipline with references to the Provincial School Code of Conduct Policy. This will strengthen the minister's ability to direct school boards to address bullying and cyberbullying as part of their regional code of conduct policies.

The amendments would bring the language used in the act up to date by including the terms bullying and cyberbullying. It will also update the act to reflect the province's approaches to promote school safety and creating positive learning environments.

"I would like to acknowledge the task force and working group for working hard to develop the definition of bullying and cyberbullying," said Ms. Jennex. "The definition will be adopted because it is well researched, evidence-based, and aligned with definitions from other leading jurisdictions."


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     The province is amending the Education Act and working with

students and other partners to help protect young people from

bullying and cyberbullying.

     The legislation, An Act to Address Bullying by Promoting

Respectful and Responsible Relationships, was introduced today

(April 18th). It is an important first step to addressing the

recommendations of the Report of the Nova Scotia Task Force on

Bullying and Cyberbullying.

     In addition to introducing legislation, the province is

calling on students to submit videos and other visuals, music and

other contributions to help create the province's public

awareness campaign about bullying.

     The province will appoint an anti-bullying co-ordinator from

within government or one of the school boards to work with

partners to co-ordinate the province's action plan on bullying

and cyberbullying.

     Students have four weeks to submit entries, with selected

pieces to be used to create the campaign for the 2012-13 school

year. More details about the campaign will be announced in May.

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Media Contact: Glenn Friel
              Department of Education
              902-424-5432
              Cell: 902-456-7416
              E-mail: frielgp@gov.ns.ca