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Minister’s comments on bullying seen as minimizing serious issue

Children should do more than not join in says trustee

Local trustee Ross Milligan doesn’t like the language used recently by the Minister of Education in regards to bullying —  and the local superintendent agreed.

“[The statement] ‘I hope he or she chooses not to join in,’ is just probably a fairly off-the-mark comment by the education minister,” said Jim Ansell, district 69 superintendent. “But I think the (ERASE bullying) program that stands behind it is far more detailed.”

The comments came at the recent board of education meeting, while reviewing a news release from the Ministry of Education on bullying. Beyond the information about a strategy to keep students safe, there is a quote from Don McRae, minister of education. Within the quote it states:

“If a child sees someone being bullied, I hope he or she chooses not to join in. If a child is being bullied I hope she or he can find the courage to report it.”

“I think it should go further than that,” said Milligan. I think if you stand by and let it happen you’re condoning it.”

Ansell agreed that the remarks seemed like an under reaction by the minister, but said the strategy is actually far more significant in detail and well structured.

Board chair Lynette Kershaw said being personally involved at the schools she has seen anti-bullying steps being implementing and they are more involved than what Milligan may think.

There is guidance and strategies involved, she said.

“I think if you take a look at that you’ll see that,” she told Milligan at the meeting.