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Policy 20 - Welcoming, Caring, Respectful and Safe Learning and Working Environments

WELCOMING, CARING, RESPECTFUL AND SAFE LEARNING AND WORKING ENVIRONMENTS

Background

The Board is committed and obligated to ensuring each student enrolled in a school operated by the Board and each staff member employed by the Board is provided with a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning and working environment that respects diversity and fosters a sense of belonging. All individuals within the division have the right to work and learn in settings that are free from discrimination and promote equality of opportunity, dignity, and respect.

 

Specifically

  1. The Board affirms the rights of each staff member employed by Wild Rose School Division and each student enrolled in its schools as provided for in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or Alberta Human Rights Act.  Staff members employed by Wild Rose School Division and students enrolled in its schools will not be discriminated against as provided for in the the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Human Rights Act. This includes recognition that all persons are equal in: dignity, rights and responsibilities without regard to race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status or sexual orientation.   

  2. Wild Rose School Division values all members of our educational community where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.  We value and respect diversity and strive to treat others with kindness, caring, and tolerance by appreciating and accepting all those we encounter in our school community. To that end, the superintendent will communicate and enforce appropriate expectations, behaviour, language and actions in order to prevent discrimination, prejudice and harassment to any student or staff member for whatever reason, through greater awareness of and responsiveness to their harmful effects.

  3. All students, staff and family shall have their confidentiality protected and respected, as legislated in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the School Act, while also respecting the legal and fundamental powers, responsibilities and entitlements of parents and guardians to make informed decisions regarding the education of their children, as legislated in the School Act and the Alberta Family Law Act.

  4. ​Students, staff or families that wish to make a request to the school principal for support or an accommodation in reference to this policy can do so with the help of the school’s Family Wellness Worker or a trusted school staff member of their choice. This staff member will then take the request to the principal of the school. These requests will be accommodated as best as possible, taking into consideration the needs and rights of ALL students, staff and families connected with the school as well as the school’s existing infrastructure.

  5. The Board supports activities or the creation of voluntary student organizations that promote a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment that respects diversity and fosters a sense of belonging. As such, Wild Rose School Division is committed to the following directives from section 16 of the School Act:
    16.1(1) If one or more students attending a school operated by a board request a staff member employed by the board for support to establish a voluntary student organization, or to lead an activity intended to promote a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment that respects diversity and fosters a sense of belonging, the principal of the school shall
        (a) immediately grant permission for the establishment of the student organization or the holding of the activity at the school, and
        (b) subject to subsection (4), within a reasonable time from the date that the principal receives the request designate a staff member to serve as the staff liaison to facilitate the establishment, and the ongoing operation, of the student organization or to assist in organizing the activity.
    (2) For the purposes of subsection (1), an organization or activity includes an organization or activity that promotes equality and non-discrimination with respect to, without limitation, race, religious belief, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical disability, mental disability, family status or sexual orientation, including but not limited to organizations such as gay-straight alliances, diversity clubs, anti-racism clubs and anti-bullying clubs.
    (3) The students may select a respectful and inclusive name for the organization or activity, including the name “gay-straight alliance”or “queer-straight alliance”, after consulting with the principal. For greater certainty, the principal shall not prohibit or discourage students from choosing a name that includes “gay-straight alliance” or “queer-straight alliance”.
    (4) The principal shall immediately inform the board and the Minister if no staff member is available to serve as a staff liaison referred to in subsection (1), and if so informed, the Minister shall appoint a responsible adult to work with the requesting students in organizing the activity or to facilitate the establishment, and the ongoing operation, of the student organization at the school.
    (5) If a staff member indicates to a principal a willingness to act as a staff liaison under subsection (1),
           (a) a principal shall not inform a board or the Minister under subsection (4) that no staff member is available to serve as a staff liaison, and
           (b) that staff member shall be deemed to be available to serve as the staff liaison.
    (6) The principal is responsible for ensuring that notification, if any, respecting a voluntary student organization or an activity referred to in subsection (1) is limited to the fact of the establishment of the organization or the holding of the activity. Such notification must otherwise be consistent with the usual practices relating to other student activities. Wild Rose School Division is bound by the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act, such that, any disclosure of personal information is subject to the provisions of that Act.

  6. The Board will provide staff with inclusive professional learning opportunities and resources to ensure all students, staff and families from all walks of life are treated with respect and dignity.  Sample resources supplied by Alberta Education may be found at: https://education.alberta.ca/safe-and-caring-schools/overview/. Application of these and all other resources must be consistent with the principles in this policy and must ensure ALL students, staff and families are being provided a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning and working environment.

  7. The Board is committed to protect all those involved in the Division from harassment, discrimination, bullying, intimidation, and violence during the Division’s work and school-related activities. The Board acknowledges its responsibility to support and assist any employee, volunteer, person providing goods and services, or student who is subjected to harassment or violence within its schools or workplaces.

  8. The Board requires all incidents of harassment, discrimination, bullying, intimidation and violence to be taken seriously, documented, dealt with expeditiously and followed up effectively using the Division’s Student Code of Conduct and Harassment Administrative Procedures  regardless of the identity of the alleged harasser or offender.

  9. Application of this policy includes, but is not limited to, trustees, employees, students, parents, volunteers, visitors, and contractors. This policy covers behaviour not only at Division schools and offices, but also at any Board or school-related function including field trips, conferences, training sessions, work done off site, and social functions. This applies whether the contact is face-to-face, by phone, fax, e-mail, Internet or by any other means of communication.








Revised:                       February 2018  

Reference: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
Alberta Human Rights Act
Alberta Family Law Act - Section 21(4)(a) and Section 21(6)(a)(c)(d)
School Act - Preamble, Sections 45.1 and 16.1
Administrative Procedure 140: Network Security
Administrative Procedure 350: Student Behaviour and Conduct
Administrative Procedure 170: Harassment