Premier Christy Clark speaking in Surrey at the announcement of the province's new anti-bullying strategy – ERASE (Expect Respect And a Safe Education.)

Anti-bullying plan includes whistle-blowing phone app

Focus of $2 million strategy on training for school safety, tolerance



A new provincial anti-bullying strategy promises more training to improve the climate in schools and a new smartphone app that aims to make it easier for students to anonymously report tormenters.

Premier Christy Clark unveiled the plan in Surrey Friday, pledging $2 million for the new initiatives she said will bring a coordinated approach to the issue in all school districts.

She said the focus is on providing better tools to help teachers recognize bullying and deal with conflicts appropriately.

“We’re not focusing on the hammer legislative approach,” Clark said. “You can’t make a law that gets rid of bullying.”

The plan mandates dedicated safe school coordinators in every district and calls for at least one professional development day per year to be devoted to anti-bullying, although that depends on talks with the B.C. Teachers Federation.

Anti-bullying training will focus on elementary schools initially, while threat and risk assessment training will be geared to middle and secondary schools.

The strategy is dubbed ERASE – Expect Respect And a Safe Education.

But Floyd Van Beek, a Grade 12 student at South Delta Secondary School, said it could have gone farther to battle homophobic bullying in schools, noting there is no specific training module set out for that issue.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” he said.

Grade 10 student Rachel Garrett, who is with Van Beek on the SDSS Alliance club that fights homophobia in the school, agreed and praised the plan for a phone app.

“A lot of kids aren’t quite confident enough to put their name forward,” Garrett said. “If they have an anonymous way to do that it’s going to be a lot easier.”

Clark said gay and lesbian students are more likely to be bullied and commit suicide, but added “bullying is bullying and it shouldn’t happen to any child for any reason.”

The plan also requires all districts to have have stronger codes of conduct that bar discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation and other criteria in line with the Human Rights Act.

Education Minister George Abbott said a quarter of school districts have conduct codes that specifically refer to sexual orientation.

Others, he said, believe it’s important not to elevate one type of bullying over another, adding the province isn’t telling them what to do, provided all the discrimination criteria are covered.

Just Posted

Oversize load collides with Highway 1 overpass in Chilliwack

Traffic disrupted eastbound around Lickman Road over pass Monday morning

Harrison workers back on the job

Union calls new agreement ‘a good compromise’

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

Heat warning issued for Metro Vancouver

Inland areas expect to hit at least 26 degrees for daytime highs

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Glow Langley returns bigger and brighter this Christmas

Organizers will also introduce Harvest Glow — a celebration of autumn

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Car calls 911 on possible impaired B.C. driver

A luxury car automatically calls Princeton police to scene of crash involving alcohol

BC Games marks 40 years in 2018

Cowichan Games a milestone for BC Games Society

Most Read