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BC’s safe schools legislation due

Vancouver-Burrard MLA Lorne Mayencourt says a government-sponsored safe schools bill is “pretty much ready to go” and will be introduced in the BC legislature in the next few weeks.

But Mayencourt declined to say whether the bill includes provisions that specifically combat discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“As it is a piece of legislation now coming forward, I’m actually not allowed to comment on it,” he explains, adding that he is “comfortable with the bill” as proposed.

He says the goal is to have the legislation implemented by the start of the 2007/2008 academic year.

Mayencourt has issued private member’s bills on the safe schools issue twice previously, but has so far been unsuccessful in getting them passed.

He told Xtra West in February that he was “really excited” that the government indicated in its throne speech, Feb 13, that it planned to introduce a safe schools act of its own.

But the throne speech did not specifically mention safe schools legislation, rather it referred to plans to amend existing legislation to require all school boards to establish codes of conduct that “meet provincially set standards, and that institute zero tolerance of bullying.”

Xtra West requested an interview with education minister Shirley Bond for a progress report on the formulation of the government’s legislation but received a statement from the ministry’s communications arm that there is “nothing new to report.”