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Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.
WHEREAS a central focus and purpose of the school system in British Columbia is to enable all students to develop their individual potential and acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to contribute to society;
AND WHEREAS it is acknowledged that students benefit academically and socially from a safe, caring and orderly learning environment;
AND WHEREAS British Columbians aim to create a school system free from bullying, harassment, intimidation, and discrimination;
AND WHEREAS much bullying, harassment, intimidation, and discrimination, is rooted in ignorance and education is essential to its eradication;
AND WHEREAS it is important that human rights educational programs assist British Columbians to understand all their fundamental rights and freedoms, as well as their corresponding duties and responsibilities to others;
AND WHEREAS these principles have been confirmed in British Columbia by a number of enactments of the Legislature and it is desirable to revise and extend the protection of human rights in British Columbia;
THEREFORE HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, enacts as follows:
1 Section 85 of the School Act is amended by repealing subsection (2) and substituting the following:
(2) Without limiting subsection (1), a board shall, subject to this Act and the regulations make rules establishing a district-wide code of conduct policy for schools operated by or on behalf of the board.
2 The following sections are added:
(2.1) In this section:
"bullying, harassment, intimidation and or discrimination" means any written, verbal, or physical act, when the effect of that written, verbal, or physical act:
(a) physically or emotionally harms a student or damages the student's property; or
(b) substantially interferes with a student's education; or
(c) is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment; or
(d) substantially disrupts the orderly operation of the school.
"school community" includes students, parents, Parent Advisory Councils, school staff, temporary staff, visiting professionals, student teachers, volunteers or visitors to the school.
(2.2) A district-wide code of conduct policy established pursuant to subsection (2):
(a) shall include a provision prohibiting bullying, harassment, intimidation and or discrimination on the basis of a students race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, social status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or age of that student or that group or class of students, or their parents. Nothing in this section requires the affected student or that group or class of students or their parents to actually possess a characteristic that is a basis for the bullying, harassment, intimidation and or discrimination.
(b) shall be developed and reviewed as part of a regular cycle of policy review in consultation with members of the school community.
(c) shall be continuously monitored to ensure codes reflect current and emerging situations and are contributing to school safety.
(d) shall outline clear expectations regarding acceptable conduct by the schools employees, students and volunteers within the school and at school-sponsored events which occur in the community.
(e) shall include clearly defined consequences for school employees, students and volunteers that fail to comply with the provision prohibiting bullying, harassment, intimidation and or discrimination within the school and at school-sponsored events which occur in the community.
(f) shall be made known to all members of the school community through human rights educational programs including but not limited to programs approved by the Ministry of Education.
(2.3) No school employee, student, or volunteer may engage in reprisal, retaliation, or false accusation against a victim, witness, or one with reliable information about an act of bullying, harassment, intimidation and or discrimination.
(2.4) A school employee, student, or volunteer who has witnessed, or has reliable information that a student has been subjected to, bullying, harassment, intimidation and or discrimination shall report such incident to an appropriate school official.
(2.5) A person or group of persons that alleges that a person or a group of persons, including a school district, has contravened this act may file a complaint under the Human Rights Code.
(2.6) Without limiting subsection (1), a board may, subject to this Act and the regulations, do all or any of the following:
(a) determine local policy for the effective and efficient operation of schools in the school district;
(b) subject to the orders of the minister, approve educational resource materials and other supplies and services for use by students;
(c) make rules
(i) respecting suspension of students and the provision of educational programs for suspended students,
(ii) respecting attendance of students in educational programs provided by the board,
(iii) respecting the establishment, operation, administration and management of
(A) schools operated by the board and educational programs provided by the board, and
(B) transportation equipment used for the purposes of the board,
(iv) respecting the provision of volunteer services,
(v) respecting the management of student housing facilities and the supervision of students accommodated in them, and
(vi) respecting any other matter under the jurisdiction of the board;
(d) suspend students, in accordance with the rules under paragraph (c) (i), so long as the board continues to make available to those students an educational program;
(e) if approved by the council of the municipality in which the school is located, provide a system of traffic patrols to assist in the control of motor vehicle traffic on highways or elsewhere in that municipality so far as the traffic may affect students going to or from school;
(f) provide housing accommodation for students;
(g) subject to the orders of the minister, permit persons other than students to utilize board facilities, equipment and personnel;
(h) subject to the orders of the minister, evaluate and recognize educational activities of an educational program undertaken by a student outside of the school;
(i) develop and offer local programs for use in schools in the school district;
(j) subject to the orders of the minister, cause an educational assessment to be made of students or groups of students;
(k) establish loan funds or bursaries for students enrolled in an educational program in the school district and spend money received by donation.
3 This Act comes into force by regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.