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Hon. Liz Sandals, Minister of Education: Statement to the Legislative Assembly

Hon. Liz Sandals, Minister of Education: Statement to the Legislative Assembly

Bullying Awareness And Prevention Week

November 19, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I'm proud to stand in the House today on behalf of Ontario's two million students to acknowledge Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week.

We know that a safe, inclusive and accepting school environment is essential for students to succeed in the classroom and beyond.

And it is the responsibility of everyone in the school community to promote respectful and caring relationships that support the cognitive, emotional, social and physical development of our children and students.

That is why today and every day this week, thousands of students and educators across Ontario will be recognizing Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week.

Mr. Speaker, we have been leaders in bullying prevention policies.

Our government has led the way by developing strong legislation, such as the Accepting Schools Act, and resources for school boards that addresses bullying and victimization through prevention, intervention and supports.

The Accepting Schools Act, introduced in 2012, is the first legislation of its kind in Canada. It provides a definition of bullying and cyber-bullying and also requires school boards to take measures to prevent and address inappropriate student behaviour.

This important legislation is helping to make every school in Ontario a safe, inclusive and accepting place to learn — while at the same time, ensuring every student has the support to reach their full potential.

As Ontarians, we must all work together to make our schools safe, inclusive and accepting places to learn. Let's use this week to help promote awareness and understanding of important issues like bullying each and every day of the year.

Today, as we recognize Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week, I'm pleased to announce the 11 recipients of the 2013-14 Premier's Awards for Accepting Schools.

  • Agnes Taylor Public School in Brampton
  • Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Elementary School in Hamilton
  • Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School in Grimsby
  • Dr. G.W. Williams Secondary School in Aurora
  • École élémentaire Carrefour des jeunes in Brampton
  • Erindale Secondary School in Mississauga
  • St. David Catholic School in Sudbury
  • St. Edmund Campion Secondary School in Brampton
  • St. Joseph Secondary School in Mississauga
  • Stanley Mills Public School in Brampton, and
  • Valley View Public School in Pickering.

Mr. Speaker, these annual awards recognize and celebrate Ontario's safe and accepting schools teams for the innovative work they have done in promoting a positive school environment and supporting student achievement and well-being.

There are incredible initiatives happening in our schools, and I know that is due in a large part to the work of these teams.

At this time, as we celebrate the work of these teams, I am pleased to officially launch this year's Premier's Awards for Accepting Schools.

I encourage students, teachers, educators, parents and community members across Ontario to recognize the great work of their safe and accepting schools teams by nominating them for a Premier's Award for Accepting Schools.

More information on the nomination process can be found on the Ministry of Education website in the coming weeks. On our website, you will see a few videos that show initiatives to make our schools safer and more accepting places to learn.

Mr. Speaker, promoting student well-being is one of the key goals of Ontario's renewed vision for education.

The other goals of this vision include: achieving excellence, ensuring equity and enhancing public confidence.

We are very proud of our renewed vision for education. And we know that this vision for education will help prepare our students for a productive and successful future.

Eliminating bullying is a key part of achieving that vision.

In fact, everyone has a part to play in creating a positive school climate and in fostering healthy and respectful relationships...

Inappropriate behaviour, such as bullying, cyber-bullying, sexual assault, gender-based violence, and incidents based on homophobia, transphobia and biphobia is unacceptable.

I encourage every member in the House today to recognize Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week and continue to promote the well-being of our students so that everyone feels respected, valued and accepted.

Let's take this opportunity to come together to make a difference in the lives of Ontario's children, students and families.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.