Ontario Education Act P P Presentation

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A slideshow presentation of the Legal Context of Education in Ontario

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Ontario Education Act P P Presentation

  1. 1. Understanding the Premise Behind the Ontario Ministry of Education School SafetyAct By Lisa Lahey Zero Tolerance in Ontario’s Public Schools
  2. 2. Bill 212, Ministry of Education, 2000 Bill 212, or the Safe Schools Act, was added to the Education Act in 2000 in order to address several issues including bullying, violence, possession of weapons and the sale and use of illegal drugs on school premises.The Act was not intended to objectify students from disadvantaged communities but rather to ensure the safety of educators and students.
  3. 3. Bullying/Cyberbullying  Bullying is defined under the Education Act as “repeated, persistent and aggressive behaviour directed at an individual or individuals that is intended to cause fear and distress and/or harm to another person’s body, feelings, self-esteem or reputation.”  The use of social media (eg Facebook) to bully another person is included in this definition.
  4. 4. Possession of Illegal Drugs The crime of having one or more illegal drugs in one’s possession and of giving alcohol to a minor is not just grounds for suspension and/or expulsion but also for criminal charges being levied against a student. Usually schools and school boards try not to charge a student particularly on a first offence but police are being involved more frequently.
  5. 5. Physical or Sexual Assault Any physical or sexual assault against an educator, administrator or student is also punishable by criminal charges, suspension and/or expulsion. During the first seven years of the Education Act administrators were permitted to expel students and teachers had the right to suspend.
  6. 6. Possession and/or use of a Weapon Even in the event where a weapon is not used or threatened to be used against a student or educator any student caught with an illegal weapon in his/her possession can be suspended or expelled.The right to search the student’s person, locker and personal belongings is included in the original Bill.
  7. 7. Ontario Human Rights Commission Alerted to the growing number of minority students who were being suspended and/or expelled as a result of zero tolerance in the schools the Ontario Human Rights Commission appealed a number of facets of Bill 212 resulting in Bill 81, a revision of the original bill.The revision displaced the notion of zero tolerance in the schools in a number of ways.
  8. 8. Bill 81  Revisions to Bill 212 state that school boards and schools are responsible to create and use anti-bullying campaigns in the schools and curriculum to inform and educate teachers and students about bullying in the schools.
  9. 9. Progressive Discipline Schools are expected to use progressive discipline rather than suspension with students who experience consistent behaviour problems, particularly those with behavioural needs and disorders. Principals retain the power to suspend where necessary but are urged to consider “mitigating factors” such as student’s behaviour disorders when suspending students.
  10. 10. Mitigating Factors Factors that impact an administrator’s right to suspend include the age and history of a student, whether the behaviour was in response to harassment, and in cases of special education students whether the behaviour was listed in the student’s behaviour plan (IEP).
  11. 11. Mandatory Suspensions Certain offences remain mandatory including: •Robbery •Assault •Possession of illegal drugs •Giving alcohol to a minor •Possession of a weapon •Threatening someone with a weapon
  12. 12. Expulsions Principals no longer have the right to expel a student. S/he may offer a recommendation to the school board for student expulsion but ultimately it is the board that makes the decision whether or not expulsion is in both the school’s and the student’s best interests. In the case of student expulsion however the board is required to provide a viable alternative educational opportunity.
  13. 13. The issue of suspension, expulsion, increased incidents of violence in the schools present an ongoing challenge. Overall Ontario public schools do a respectable job at educating, disciplining and socializing students. The majority of students appear to benefit from Ontario’s school anti-violence and anti-bullying campaigns. An equal emphasis needs to be placed upon the home environment and parental And community influences in order for school initiatives to be fully effective.

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