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Press Releases 2004

 

December 7, 2004

For Immediate Release

 

KLEES: EDUCATION MINISTER FAILING STUDENTS

 

(Queen's Park)                        Frank Klees, MPP for Oak Ridges and Education Critic, said today that Minister of Education, Gerard Kennedy, has failed Ontario's students by not ensuring they are safe from bullying at school.

"This Minister voted against the Safe Schools Act in 2000," said Klees.   "He has spent his first year pre-occupied with what is in vending machines and children's lunchboxes, instead of dealing with the important issue of bullying that grows more serious with each passing day, and now we have these tragic results.   Where are his priorities?"

In a statement to the Legislature yesterday, and his question to the Minister today, Klees cited the case of 16 year-old Andrew Stewart, who was murdered by a gang just steps from his school.   Parents had been warning of increased violence brewing at the school for weeks.   He also cited the tragic case of a 15 year-old student who committed suicide as a result of persistent bullying at school and which continued over the internet at home.

"The provisions in Ontario's Code of Conduct require an effective response program to ensure a student's physical safety," Klees said.   "When we see the escalation of bullying and violence in schools in the past year, it is clear that in too many cases these provisions are being ignored or given nothing but lip service.   Parents from all over the province complain that their concerns are not getting the appropriate response at the school level."

Klees called on the Minister to take the issue of bullying much more seriously and to show leadership as Minister of Education to ensure the provisions of the Safe Schools Act, enacted by the previous P.C. government, are implemented.

"We created the framework for the school boards and local schools to provide a safe environment for students.   This Minister must get his priorities straight and assume his responsibilities as an advocate for our students' safety," Klees added.

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For further information:

Frank Klees, MPP

416-325-7316


See also yesterday's release click here