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Board Policies

Policy 20

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 regardless of race, age, ancestry, place of origin, colour, religious beliefs, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical or mental disability, marital status, family status, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation.

Procedures

  1. The Board acknowledges that the Government of Alberta has passed amendments to Bill 10 that include gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation into the Alberta Bill of Rights as protected from discrimination. The Board acknowledges its responsibility to ensure all students and staff are provided a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning and working environment regardless of their gender, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation. This includes those who identify, or are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirited, or questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity (LGBTQ+) as well as those who identify as heterosexual according to their biologically assigned sex at birth (Gender Straight).

  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, while also respecting the legal and fundamental rights of parents and guardians to make informed decisions regarding the education of their children. This includes being kept aware of significant issues in the lives of their children unless it is determined that sharing such information would put the wellbeing of the child at risk.

  4. Students, staff or families who wish to make a request to the school principal for support or an accommodation based on their race, age, ancestry, place of origin, colour, religious beliefs, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical or mental disability, marital status, family status, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation, 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 whenever possible but must take 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. If deemed appropriate to help students experience a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe environment, the school principal will designate a private, lockable washroom and/or locker room as gender neutral that will be made available to all students, staff and visitors regardless of their race, age, ancestry, place of origin, colour, religious beliefs, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical or mental disability, marital status, family status, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation.

  6. The Board supports 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. Students may select a respectful and inclusive name for the organization including Gay-Straight Alliance or Queer-Straight Alliance, after consulting with the school principal.

  7. 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 regardless of their race, age, ancestry, place of origin, colour, religious beliefs, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical or mental disability, marital status, family status, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation. Sample resources supplied by Alberta Education may be found at: https://education.alberta.ca/safe-and-caring-schools/safe-and-caring-schools/everyone/welcoming-caring-respectful-safe-schools/. 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 regardless of their race, age, ancestry, place of origin, colour, religious beliefs, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical or mental disability, marital status, family status, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation.

  8. 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.  All those involved with the Division including trustees, employees, students, parents, volunteers, contractors, and visitors must be instrumental in creating a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe working and learning environment.

  9. The Board requires all incidents of harassment, discrimination, bullying, intimidation and violence 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.
     
  10. 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.

References

School Act - Sections 45.1 and 16.1

Alberta Human Rights Act

Administrative Procedure 140: Network, Computer, and Email Acceptable Use

Administrative Procedure 350: Student Behaviour and Conduct

Administrative Procedure 451: Harassment