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Safe and inclusive schools: Responding to the Accepting Schools Act (Bill 13)

In June 2012, the provincial government passed Bill 13, the Accepting Schools Act. It was in full effect as of February 1, 2013 and amended some of the “safe schools” provisions in the Education Act.

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We know that a safe, inclusive and accepting school is essential for student achievement and well-being. Bill 13 requires school boards to prevent and address inappropriate and disrespectful behaviour among students in our schools. These behaviours include bullying, discrimination and harassment. The new law makes it clear that these behaviours are unacceptable in our schools. It promotes respect and understanding for all students regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, creed, disability, or any other factor.

The board was directed to create new policies and/or revise policies based on the legislation, regulations and Ministry of Education Policy and Program Memorandums. These include:

Policy 503 – It is the policy of the Upper Grand District School Board to support and maintain a positive school climate for all members of the school community. A positive school climate is accepting and inclusive of all. As part of this mandate, the Board will strive to eliminate all forms of bullying through prevention and intervention strategies which foster positive learning environments, support academic achievement, and help students to reach their full potential. The Board supports the use of positive practices including prevention and early intervention as well as consequences for inappropriate behaviour. This includes Progressive Discipline and suspension and expulsion where necessary.

As a result of Bill 13, the Board’s Safe Schools practices and procedures have changed, including what can be considered for suspensions and expulsions. A few of the changes are highlighted here. Bill 13 requires schools to:

Consider tougher consequences for students who bully others. This can include suspending and considering expulsion if:


More information about the Accepting Schools Act can be found online at: