Changes to safe schools provisions welcomed news but more social workers, psychologists and professionals needed

    TORONTO, April 17 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government announced changes to
the safe schools provisions of the Education Act. They add bullying to the
list of infractions for which suspensions must be considered, encourage
progressive discipline, replace mandatory suspensions and expulsions with a
requirement that principals and school boards consider other avenues and
clarify the decision-making authority around suspensions and expulsions.
    Commenting on the changes, Ken Coran, president of the Ontario Secondary
School Teachers' Federation said, "OSSTF is pleased to see that bullying and
cyber-bullying are added to the list of infractions for which suspensions are
considered. As a union we have been at the forefront through research and
training in curbing bullying in schools and this change provides one more
method of curbing this problem."
    "Clarification of the decision-making authority with respect to
suspensions and expulsions is also good news to our members because teachers
were being asked to make decisions that were inappropriate," he added.
    "OSSTF also believes that safe schools are key to student success. While
the additional funding announced may help reach those objectives, it is
important to remember that many of the programs run by support staff such as
child and youth workers, educational assistants, social workers, school
psychologists and others were cut during the Harris/Eves regime and have never
recovered. School boards could be facing more cuts in these core programs
because of underfunding and it means that valuable education and prevention
programs will disappear or never be offered. OSSTF believes that a
comprehensive analysis of these school board based services should be
conducted so that these programs can be restored and others added," he

    OSSTF/FEESO, founded in 1919, has 60,000 members across Ontario. They
include public high school teachers, occasional teachers, educational
assistants, continuing education teachers and instructors, psychologists,
secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support
personnel, attendance counsellors, and many others in education.

For further information:

For further information: Ken Coran, President, Ontario Secondary School
Teachers' Federation, (416) 751-8300, or 1-800-267-7867

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