October 23, 2013 - 4:56 PM
VERNON - Vernon is joining other school districts across the province in creating a mandatory anti-homophobia policy.
So far, about 20 school districts have passed policies offering specific protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students.
“We want to make sure all our students feel safe and represented,” school district 22 superintendent Joe Rogers says.
It’s up to the school district to decide what its own policy will look like, and Rogers says a committee made up of two students, two parents, two administrators, two teachers, two CUPE members, two board trustees, and two district staff members will be working on the proposed policy. The goal is to get a draft before the board for a first reading in January, open it up for public input, and get it implemented in the spring.
“We’ve not had any big issues (with homophobia). One of our secondary schools has a gay straight alliance group,” Rogers says. “We just want to make sure the kinds of policies we have are inclusionary for all groups.”
Rogers notes there have only been two referrals from the Vernon school district to Erase Bullying since that initiative was launched last summer by the provincial government. Other communities, such as Kamloops, have had deeper struggles with homophobic bullying and harassment.
“I believe we’ve already dealt with these issues, and students feel comfortable talking to their teachers and principals. I think we’re in a good place there, but we’re happy to provide as many resources as we can,” Rogers says.
The committee will be looking at what other districts have done as it puts together a proposed policy.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013