In November of last year, Minister of Education, Laurel Broten, courageously introduced Bill-13 – the Accepting Schools Act.
This legislation if passed would do a number of things, including:
· work to prevent gender-based violence and incidents based on homophobia & transphobia,
· provide better support for students who are impacted by inappropriate behaviors and require schools to provide a safe learning environment,
· and support student led initiatives to stop all forms of bullying, discrimination, homophobia & transphobia.
For us at Jer’s Vision, the Accepting Schools Act offers real change, and supports youth initiatives in ways that we have never seen before. Almost every day, youth volunteers at Jer’s Vision engage with their peers to run initiatives to make schools and communities safer. These include projects with Gay Straight Alliances, Rainbow Alliances and Diversity Clubs; and these youth-run, school based clubs need your support.
Despite having been introduced in November, Bill 13 has been held up in delays as a result of Ontario’s minority legislature. We are concerned that unless action is taken immediately, there will not be enough time to pass the Accepting Schools Act by the end of this legislative session.
Youth need these important supports and protections in place for this September and getting Bill 13 through the process is the only way to make that possible.
Jer’s Vision supports the government’s time allocation motion that would allow for this important piece of legislation to move quickly through the rest of the process, with the hope of being passed into law in time for September.
We call on MPPs of all political stripes to stand together against bullying and in support of time allocating this bill.
Jeremy Dias, Director
Jer’s Vision: Canada’s Youth Diversity Initiative