New Mandatory Reporting Bill Would Make Schools Safer
McGuinty Government Introduces The Keeping Our Kids Safe At School Act
Every Ontario student has the right to feel safe and be safe when they go to school.
As part of its efforts to make schools even safer, Ontario is today introducing new legislation that would require school staff to report serious student incidents, such as bullying, to the principal. It would also require that principals contact the parents of the victims.
If passed, Ontario would be the first province in Canada with legislation of this kind; making schools even safer and leading the way for its students to succeed.
If passed, this legislation would also:
- Address reporting gaps between principals, teachers and parents about serious student incidents that could lead to suspension or expulsion.
- Ensure parents are kept informed and principals are aware of serious incidents in the school so they can respond appropriately.
- Require school staff to intervene and address inappropriate, disrespectful behaviour among students.
This builds on Ontario's safe schools strategy and is part of a comprehensive response to the recent Safe Schools Action Team report. The report calls for action to address serious issues like gender-based violence, homophobia, sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual behaviour among students.
- About 25,000 teachers and 7,500 principals have received training to address and prevent bullying in their schools.
- There are already clear requirements for principals to report any violent incidents to the police.
- Bullying and harassment can affect a student’s health, mental well-being and school success, according to a 2008 study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
- The Safe Schools Act was amended last year to treat bullying as an infraction for which suspension must be considered.
- The Education Act explains when suspension and expulsion must be considered. The Keeping Our Kids Safe At School Act, if passed, would require school staff to report these activities to the principal.
- Read the Safe School Action Team’s latest report: Shaping a Culture of Respect in Our Schools: Promoting Safe and Healthy Relationships.
- Find out what else Ontario is doing to help make schools safer.
“We are committed to student safety — and we know Ontario school staff are as well. This legislation is part of our ongoing efforts to make our schools safer.”
“Bullying and harassment are not acceptable in our communities or our schools. I am pleased we are responding quickly to the report’s recommendations to help make our schools safer.”
“This is another step in the right direction to improve school safety. Parents and principals need to know what is happening in our schools so appropriate action can be taken.”