OUR VIEW: Good to consider sexual orientation

While bullying hasn’t been as prevalent in news headlines as it was about a month ago, that doesn’t mean the issue has disappeared.

While bullying hasn’t been as prevalent in news headlines as it was about a month ago, that doesn’t mean the issue has disappeared.

The fire storm of emotion caused when B.C. teen Amanda Todd committed suicide has cooled but it is a certainty that people, young and old, are still victims of bullying, in all parts of the world, including Grand Forks and area.

To that end, School District 51 (SD51) is working on creating a sexual identity policy and is currently amongst 54 school districts across the province that don’t have a sexual orientation policy in place – 14 districts do and SD51 is to be commended for that.

The policy is being discussed in light of the province’s Erase Bullying program, which educates parents and children on bullying and gives an outlet to report incidents.

While the district mentions bullying and racism in its current policy, they are mentioned amongst other topics and the biases in the treatment of people of differing sexual orientation are not addressed.

Nothing is set in stone yet, as SD51 is working on a draft. Some SD51 trustees wondered whether to have a specific policy on sexual orientation, as it was thought that such a policy might single out specific students, but the district is right to be considering sexual orientation.

While it is still a work in progress, taking into consideration lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgendered is good as they have been the targets of bullying as well.

And though the Amanda Todd tragedy was not thought to be related to her sexual orientation, there have been other instances of people committing suicide for that very reason.

There was an incident in Rochester, Minn. last May where Jay’Corey Jones committed suicide due because he was bullied for being gay.

Allan Hubley, an Ottawa city councillor, saw his son Jamie take his life in 2011 because he was bullied. Bullies reportedly attempted to stuff batteries down his throat when he was in Grade 7.

Sexual orientation is a reason why people are being bullied and it should be addressed in some way as part of the anti-bullying campaign.

– Grand Forks Gazette

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