In 2000, the Canadian province of Ontario enacted legislation expelling violent students from schools. Now opponents of the Act want it repealed because the
Ontario must repeal or fix the Safe Schools Act as part of any plan to deal with gangs and gun crime in Toronto, the province's Opposition parties charged Wednesday.I wonder if opponents to the Act might feel differently if it were their children who were bullied or assaulted, or robbed by some young malefactor-in-training? Or do Canadian political leaders, like many of their American counterparts, send their children to exclusive private schools thereby exempting their own progeny from the consequences of their decisions?
Repealing or changing the act would be "a good start" in dealing with the wave of gun violence plaguing the city, said New Democrat Michael Prue. "We like to call it the Gang Recruitment Act because the kids really have nowhere to go, they go out on the street, they can't go to school, some of them are too young or don't have the skills to work," Prue said.
"They gravitate towards a gang, a place that will make them feel important, a place that will show them how to make some easy money."
The zero-tolerance Safe Schools Act, which was implemented by the former Conservative government in 2000, kicks kids out of school for any violent behaviour or drug use.
The act has been criticized by the Ontario Human Rights Commissioner and by African-Canadian and minority groups for being used disproportionately against minorities.
Education Minister Gerard Kennedy, who agrees the act is "flawed," is already reviewing the act and has just completed a round of public consultations. No final decisions are expected until early in the spring and any changes would focus on safety and fairness, he said.
But Kennedy said blaming the Safe Schools Act for causing violence is unfair.
About 2,000 Ontario high school students each year are kicked out because of the act, while 45,000 students drop out of high school for a whole host of reasons.
As for feeling any pity or sympathy for those
No child should ever go to school feeling intimidated or fearful for his or her personal safety. Period.