Baillie: It’s time to provide our kids with protection and hope
FALL RIVER, NS – Only a new Progressive Conservative government will take real action to combat bullying in our schools and protect Nova Scotia children, PC leader Jamie Baillie said.
“Nova Scotians know all too well the tragic consequences of bullying and cyberbullying,” says Baillie. “A PC government will take real action to stop bullying with education and real consequences for those who bully.”
Baillie, PC candidate for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank Brian Wong, and PC candidate for Fairview-Clayton Park Travis Price, marked Stand Up Against Bullying Day by walking to school with Georges P. Vanier Middle School students.
In 2007, Price and his friend David Shepherd encouraged students to wear pink shirts as a way to stand up to kids who had bullied a Grade 9 boy who had worn a pink shirt. Price joined the PC team because of Baillie’s tough stand against bullying.
“The NDP has been slow to take real action against bullying. The PC plan to stop bullying gives kids hope that they will be protected and that bullies will be held accountable for their actions,” says Price, co-founder of Pink Shirt Day. “Hope is sometimes all a bullied kid needs to survive.”
In April 2012, the PCs introduced three pieces of legislation to combat bullying at school and online.
1. The Safer Schools Act defines bullying in law and compels the Minister of Education to put in place province-wide standards for bullying prevention, reporting and intervention. The Act further requires the Minister to consider appropriate disciplinary measures when bullying occurs.
“As a teacher I’ve seen the devastating effects bullying can have on students,” Wong says. “The PC legislation provides guidance and support to educators to effectively deal with bullying.”
2. The Cyberbullying Intervention Act defines cyberbullying in law, makes it an offence and provides penalties for offenders. The Act further empowers judges to order restrictions on use of electronic devices, including confiscation, if it is in the public interest to do so. This Act also recognizes that parents have a role in the prevention of cyberbullying, by holding them liable if they become aware their child is cyberbullying and fail to act to prevent it.
3. The Stand Up Against Bullying Day Act raises awareness of bullying in our communities by designating the second Thursday of September each year as Stand Up Against Bullying Day.
The NDP refused to make the powerful symbolic gesture of enshrining Stand Up Against Bullying Day in law.
Cyberbullying Task Force chair Dr. Wayne MacKay has spoken favourably of the PC anti-bullying plan. On April 18, 2012, he said “One of the things that was certainly true in the proposed Tory legislation was some very specific action with accountability on parents, accountability on school boards, accountability on schools and I think there does need to be some action measures while you measure the data.”
The NDP wasted a full school year by failing to implement all the recommendations from its own Task Force on Bullying and Cyberbullying, putting students at risk instead of acting to protect kids from bullying.
When Dr. MacKay was asked about the NDP’s slow response to the Task Force’s recommendations, he told the Canadian Press “I … don’t feel that there is as much urgency to deal with some of the recommendations.”
Jamie Baillie and a PC government will act quickly to allow for earlier intervention in cases of bullying and protect vulnerable Nova Scotians from bullying and cyberbullying.