4th Session, 61st General Assembly
61 Elizabeth II, 2012
Cape Breton North
First Reading: April 17, 2012
WHEREAS students should feel safe at school;
AND WHEREAS schools need to assist students in developing healthy relationships and making good choices to enhance their learning success;
AND WHEREAS government needs to support schools in their efforts to provide a safe, inclusive and peaceful learning environment;
THEREFORE be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:
1 This Act may be cited as the Safer Schools Act.
2 (1) In this Act,
(a) "bullying" means any direct or indirect behaviour, comment, act or gesture, including those made through the use of social media, intended to injure, hurt, oppress, intimidate or ostracize, and includes cyberbullying,
(b) "inappropriate student behaviour" includes bullying, gender-based violence and incidents based on homophobia.
(2) Unless the context indicates otherwise, words and expressions in this Act have the same meaning as in the Education Act.
3 The Minister shall establish policies and guidelines with respect to bullying prevention and intervention in schools, including
(a) training to be provided for all teachers and support staff;
(b) procedures that allow students to report incidents of bullying safely and in a way that minimizes the possibility of reprisal;
(c) procedures for responding appropriately and in a timely manner to bullying;
(d) the use of disciplinary measures in response to bullying;
(e) resources to be provided to support students who are impacted by bullying; and
(f) resources to be provided to students who have been suspended for bullying.
4 The Minister may establish policies and guidelines respecting
(a) the use of a disciplinary framework that
(ii) provides for appropriate consequences for a student who engages in inappropriate behaviour, a mechanism to inform the student's parents of the reason for disciplinary action and the action that will be taken in the event of any further inappropriate behaviour,
(iv) provides support for students and their parents who are impacted by inappropriate behaviour and for students who engage in inappropriate behaviour to assist them in developing healthy relationships, making good choices and continuing their learning and achieving success,
(b) opportunities for all students and their parents, teachers and support staff to increase their understanding and awareness of inappropriate student behaviour;
(c) training for all teachers and support staff to increase their ability to respond to inappropriate student behaviour; and
(d) procedures for responding appropriately and in a timely manner to inappropriate student behaviour.
5 (1) Every school board shall establish policies and guidelines with respect to
(a) disciplining students who bully or engage in inappropriate student behaviour consistent with those established pursuant to Sections 3 and 4; and
(b) address any other matter and include any other requirement that the Minister may specify.
(2) Every school board shall prepare an annual report that states
(a) the incidence and nature of bullying and inappropriate student behaviour for each school within its jurisdiction; and
(b) the measures taken to improve each school's results with respect to preventing and intervening in bullying and inappropriate student behaviour and enhancing the quality of its learning environment,
and file it with the Minister and publish it on the school board's website no later than July 1st of each year.
6 (1) Principals shall support any group of students within their individual schools who wishes to conduct activities the principal of that school considers conducive to reducing and preventing bullying and inappropriate student behaviour.
(2) The school board shall support a group of students who wishes to conduct activities conducive to reducing and preventing bullying and inappropriate student behaviour and that have been endorsed by a principal in its district pursuant to subsection (1).