Thursday, December 6, 2012

Chris Selley: Why there will never be such thing as a good anti-bullying law

On Tuesday, the government of Canada’s fifth-most populous province, Manitoba introduced what it calls a “strong anti-bullying action plan.” It is to include various new resources for parents and teachers and eventually, after public consultations, “strong legislation that would further support students, broaden reporting of bullying and respect diversity.”

In the current anti-bullying climate, where stern legislative fixes are the order of the day, this almost counts as foot-dragging. In Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, students are now threatened with expulsion for any behaviour they intend to, or ought to know is likely to, cause “harm, fear or distress to another individual, including physical, psychological, social or academic harm, harm to the individual’s reputation or … property” — or even just for “creating a negative environment at a school for another individual.”

As of Aug. 15, the Education Act in Canada’s second-most populous province, Quebec, defines bullying (emphasis added) “as any repeated direct or indirect behaviour, comment, act or gesture, whether deliberate or not, including in cyberspace.”

Read on....

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