Education and Early Childhood Development
May 22, 2018

Amendment to the Schools Act Aimed at Ensuring a Safe Learning Environment

Legislation to modernize the Schools Act, 1997, to ensure a safe learning environment in the province’s more than 250 schools will begin second reading today in the House of Assembly.

The proposed amendment addresses the provision of alternate delivery of instruction where a student's presence would be detrimental to the well-being of others. The act also provides the Directors of Education /CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District and the Conseil scolaire francophone provincial de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador with the legal authority to refuse school admission of a student where the district is of the opinion that the presence of the student in the school is detrimental to the physical or mental well-being of students or staff.

The proposed amendment is the result of information gathered from discussions with departmental staff and consultation with the departments of Justice and Public Safety; Children, Seniors and Social Development and the Women’s Policy Office. In addition, department officials engaged the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District and the Conseil scolaire francophone provincial de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador, the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers Association, the Provincial Advisory Council of the Status of Women, the Public Legal Information Association of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Child and Youth Advocate for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Quotes
“Ensuring all teachers and students have a positive, safe and caring learning environment is a key priority for our government. We are undertaking every effort to protect student safety, protect the learning environment and ensure public confidence in our schools.”
Honourable Al Hawkins
Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development

“We are pleased with this timely response from the Provincial Government to recent consultations on an identified critical need within our school communities. This amendment will provide the legislative provisions necessary to strengthen the district’s ability to work with our schools, students, and families to problem-solve when faced with serious issues, in an effort to ensure the continued safety and security of our schools.”
Tony Stack
CEO/Director of Education, Newfoundland and Labrador English School District

“Creating a safe, inclusive and accepting environment is our priority to ensure student achievement and well-being. The Conseil scolaire francophone provincial de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador will be proposing further recommendations requiring additional amendments to the Schools Act.”
Kim Christianson
Conseil scolaire francophone provincial de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador

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Media contacts
Tina Coffey
Education and Early Childhood Development
709-729-1692, 728-8650
tcoffey@gov.nl.ca

Cheryl Gullage
Newfoundland and Labrador English School District
709-758-0032, 697-5856
CherylGullage@nlesd.ca

Kim Christianson
Directrice de l'Éducation
Conseil scolaire francophone provincial de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador
705-373-0799
kchristianson@csfp.nl.ca

2018 05 22                              12:30 p.m.