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2nd Session, 40th Legislature

This version is based on the printed bill that was distributed in the Legislature after First Reading.   It is not the official version.   If accuracy is critical, you can obtain a copy of the printed bill from Statutory Publications or view the online bilingual version (PDF).

Bill 18

THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS AMENDMENT ACT (SAFE AND INCLUSIVE SCHOOLS)


  Bilingual version (PDF) Explanatory Note

(Assented to                                         )

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

C.C.S.M. c. P250 amended

1           The Public Schools Act is amended by this Act.

2           Subsection 1(1) is amended by adding the following definition:

"bullying" means bullying as defined in section 1.2; (« intimidation »)

3           The following is added after section 1.1 and before Part I:

Interpretation: "bullying"

1.2(1)      In this Act, "bullying" is behaviour that

(a) is intended to cause, or should be known to cause, fear, intimidation, humiliation, distress or other forms of harm to another person's body, feelings, self-esteem, reputation or property; or

(b) is intended to create, or should be known to create, a negative school environment for another person.

Characteristics and forms

1.2(2)      Bullying

(a) characteristically takes place in a context of a real or perceived power imbalance between the people involved and is typically, but need not be, repeated behaviour;

(b) may be direct or indirect; and

(c) may take place

(i) by any form of expression, including written, verbal or physical, or

(ii) by means of any form of electronic communication — also referred to as cyberbullying in section 47.1.2 — including social media, text messaging, instant messaging, websites or e-mail.

When does a person participate in bullying?

1.2(3)      A person participates in bullying if he or she directly carries out the bullying behaviour or intentionally assists or encourages the bullying behaviour in any way.

4(1)        Subsection 41(1) is amended

(a) by replacing clause (b.2) with the following:

(b.2) ensure that a written policy is established respecting the appropriate use of

(i) the Internet, including social media, text messaging, instant messaging, websites and e-mail, and

(ii) digital cameras, cell phones — including cell phones equipped with digital cameras — and any other electronic or personal communication devices identified by the board;

(b) by adding the following after clause (b.3):

(b.4) establish a written policy concerning respect for human diversity, and ensure that the policy is implemented in each school in the school division or school district;

4(2)        The following is added as subsections 41(1.5) to (1.8):

Appropriate use policy for Internet, etc.

41(1.5)     An appropriate use policy established under clause (1)(b.2) may include provisions that prohibit the accessing, uploading, downloading, sharing or distribution of information or material that the school board has determined to be objectionable or not in keeping with the maintenance of a positive school environment.

Respect for human diversity policy

41(1.6)     A respect for human diversity policy is to

(a) promote and enhance

(i) a safe and inclusive learning environment,

(ii) the acceptance of and respect for others, and

(iii) the creation of a positive school environment; and

(b) address training for teachers and other staff about

(i) bullying prevention, and

(ii) strategies for promoting respect for human diversity and a positive school environment.

Regard for principles of human rights

41(1.7)     In preparing its respect for human diversity policy, a school board must have due regard for the principles of The Human Rights Code.

Student activities and organizations

41(1.8)     A respect from human diversity policy must accommodate pupils who want to establish and lead activities and organizations that

(a) promote

(i) gender equity,

(ii) antiracism,

(iii) the awareness and understanding of, and respect for, people who are disabled by barriers, or

(iv) the awareness and understanding of, and respect for, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities; and

(b) use the name "gay-straight alliance" or any other name that is consistent with the promotion of a positive school environment that is inclusive and accepting of all pupils.

5(1)        Subsection 47.1(2) is amended

(a) in subclause (b)(i.1), by striking out ", including cyber-bullying"; and

(b) by replacing clause (d) with the following:

(d) a statement that pupils and staff must adhere to school board policies and the provisions of the code of conduct respecting the appropriate use of

(i) the Internet, including social media, text messaging, instant messaging, websites  and e-mail, and

(ii) digital cameras, cell phones and other electronic or personal communication devices identified in the code of conduct or the policies of the school board; and

5(2)        Subsection 47.1(2.1) is repealed.

6           Clause 47.1.1(6)(b) is replaced with the following:

(b) bullying another pupil.

7           The following is added after section 47.1.1 and before the centred heading that follows it:

Expanded duty to report cyberbullying

47.1.2(1)   A person who is subject to a duty under subsection 47.1.1(1) must, if they become aware that a pupil of a school may have

(a) engaged in cyberbullying; or

(b) been negatively affected by cyberbulling;

report the matter to the principal of the school as soon as reasonably possible.

Application

47.1.2(2)   Subsections 47.1.1(2) to (5) apply in respect of a principal who believes that a pupil of the school has been harmed as a result of cyberbullying.

8           Subsection 48(4) is amended by striking out "welfare of the school" and substituting "school environment".

Coming into force

9           This Act comes into force on a day to be fixed by proclamation.

Explanatory Note

This Bill amends The Public Schools Act in the areas of bullying and respect for human diversity.

The Bill defines bullying. The definition recognizes that bullying can take a variety of forms, including cyberbullying. A school employee, or a person in charge of pupils during school-approved activities, must make a report to the principal if they think a pupil has engaged in, or is negatively affected by, cyberbullying.

School boards must expand their policies about the appropriate use of the Internet to include social media, text messaging and instant messaging.

The Bill also requires each school board to establish a respect for human diversity policy. The policy is to promote the acceptance of and respect for others in a safe, caring and inclusive school environment. The policy must accommodate student activity that promotes the school environment as being inclusive of all pupils, including student activities and organizations that use the name "gay-straight alliance".