Photo courtesy of Greater Victoria School District

The BC government says it doesn’t want to stand by when it comes to bullying and has tools available for students who are being bullied for their sexual orientation and gender identity.

School is back in session, and that means awareness surrounding bullying is coming back to the forefront of educators minds, specifically when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity. 

On behalf of several parental, educator, LGBTQ2IA+ and Indigenous committees, Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education and Child Care gave a statement about how children will be embraced and supported for being themselves as they step back into the classroom.

“We know that each child expresses themselves in their own unique way and some have been bullied and ostracized in the past,” said Whiteside in a media release. 

“All of BC’s provincial education partners for K-12 schools–public and independent–are standing together in solidarity to ensure every school is a place where all students deserve to be welcomed, included and respected in a safe learning environment, while being fully and completely themselves.”

“No student should be excluded or bullied because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”

The BC Human Rights code was amended in 2016 so that gender identity and gender expression are protected.

Across all 60 school districts in BC, schools have implemented sexual orientation and gender identity inclusive codes of conduct and policies to protect students as they make their way through the education system.

Minister Whiteside says she wants to commit to creating learning environments that are safe, respectful and welcoming for all BC students.

“Students deserve to have the complete support of teachers, administrators, support staff, trustees, parents, guardians, caregivers and their community.” 

Kids who are feeling discriminated against also have available to them BC’s Expect Respect & a Better Education (ERASE) as a tool for their mental health well-being.

ERASE works to build safe and caring school communities. Their goal is to empower students, parents, educators and community partners to support students to get help with challenges, report concerns to schools and learn about complex issues.

Through ERASE, students can get help with online safety, mental health and well-being, bullying, racism, school safety, sexual orientation and gender idenity, substance abuse and compassionate systems leadership.

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