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Not a lot of concern over homophobic bullying

December 02, 2013 - 1:03 PM

KAMLOOPS – Preliminary reviews of the recent district survey assessing the need for a discreet homophobic harrassment policy shows support for the current bullying protocol.

School District 73 trustee and committee chair Gerald Watson says he isn't really surprised by the answers that came back to the eight survey questions sent out to the school and district parent advisory committees, principals, the union, student groups and the Kamloops Thompson Teachers' Association earlier this fall. Watson says the responses did not include many live issues that need to be dealt with and that caution should be used, but students did feel a more aggressive policy should be in place.

“We have to be very careful of not elevating one particular category,” many responses warned, Watson says, adding, “They were generally receptive to the current policy... (and) intimidating students in general.”

He says there is a feeling that the general problem of bullying and intimidation needs to be stopped and Watson believes if sexual-based harassment was a hot issue here the board would have heard of it through different avenues as well, not just the one presentation.

This type of concern has been coming up every few years for the past 15 but with clusters of smaller, lower population areas the district doesn't face the same type of violence some larger districts do. Watson says the general idea is the district should not be pushing people one way or the other and households should raise kids with the district stepping in when behaviour interferes at school.

“I have not a shred of a doubt it's a considerably better place than 22 years ago,” Watson says. “We should be moving to be better, to be more accepting, and I think it is moving in that direction.”

The questionnaire asked if there have been any incidents at the school in the past two years, if they were contrary to the current policy and if policy was implemented. The same three questions were asked specific to sexual orientation harassment and then it asked if there would be benefit to creating a new policy to specifically addressed homophobic harassment.

The committee will take a look at the final results of the survey later this month or early in the new year and then will make a recommendation to the board.

Also read:

Kamloops school administration clueless about homophobia

Shock over school homophobic harassment, district response

Training, not policy, needed to deal with homophobic harassment

Students add voice to push for policy on homophobia

Schools surveyed on homophobic harassment

To contact a reporter for this story, email, call (250)819-3723 or tweet @JennStahn.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
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