If you’re a student in Alberta hoping that the school boards will offer some official protection from anti-gay bullying, it looks like you’re going to have to keep hoping. Last week, the Alberta School Boards Association rejected a proposal to adopt a province-wide anti-bullying policy aimed at protecting GLBT students and staff.
Now that the boards don’t think anti-gay bullying requires any special action, what advice do they have for all you gay students? Well, according to Dale Schaffrick, one of the 62 percent of board members who voted against the proposal, you could try acting less gay. “Children with a gay tendency,” Schaffrick told the media, could simply hide their gayness and be “less identifiable.”
“I think for their own benefit, it would be helpful,” he continued.
Gee, why didn’t any gay students think about this concept before? Hiding who they are so that bullies won’t pick on them. It would almost be as if they were hiding in a closet of some sort. You know, a metaphorical one.
For those of us thinking it might be better to try condemning the bullies’ behaviour rather than the victims’, it looks like we’ve got some work to do in Alberta. The Edmonton School Board, which introduced the policy to the ASBA, has successfully been running their anti-bullying program for a year now. Other school boards will follow suit, but it looks like some pressure will be needed before students can feel protected province-wide.
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