Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School Board Approves New Anti-Bullying Policy

Narisa Windover, Brad Kostachuk, Alex Hyde,
Heba Abdulmalik and Jessica Pickering are
members of the Fruit Salad club - a Gay-Straight
Alliance group at Thomas Haney secondary.They
are dressed in accessories from the club’s flair box. 
Maple Ridge News reports:
Motivated by students in the district who have been the targets of homophobic harassment, the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board has approved a new policy it hopes can help stop this form of bullying. Some school board trustees were moved to tears when, a year ago, dozens of gay and lesbian students in pink T-shirts attended the board meeting, and shared stories about how they had been targeted for name-calling, intimidation, even violence. Some described how they had contemplated suicide. School board chair Mike Murray referred to that “very impassioned presentation” as the trustees passed a new Safe, Caring and Healthy Schools policy last Wednesday. The new policy came back to the board on Pink Shirt Day 2013, Feb. 27. The policy results from the work of people like Erin Talbot and Kathryn Ferguson, educators at Thomas Haney secondary. They sponsor Fruit Salad, one of four such clubs in support of gays, lesbians, bisexual and trangendered youth in the local school district. The kids in the group have similar stories. Jessica Pickering, Grade 12, said kids back in elementary school singled her out as being different, and “somewhere along the line they decided it would be funny to call me a lesbian.” Brad Kostachuk, Grade 10, had attended a private school where he was bullied and witnessed “harsh bullying toward kids perceived as gay.” He transferred to Thomas Haney and has found the atmosphere is much more positive. “It’s time for us to make a difference for other kids,” said BradRead More