On Jan 8, Christy Clark promised the gay community that homophobic bullying would be among her top priorities if she were to become premier.
But homophobia is not mentioned in Clark’s new education policy released on Feb 14.
Clark spokesperson Shane Mills told Xtra on Feb 15 that Clark did not want to bury her bullying policy in the general education document. He said it would be released in conjunction with Pink Shirt Day on Feb 21 or 22.
“If I become premier, one of the very clear directives I am going give to the education minister is ‘I want you to deal with bullying in schools as a top priority,'” Christy Clark told Xtra on Jan 8 at a campaign stop at the Oasis lounge on Davie St.
“I want to know where it’s not being dealt with, we’re acting,” she said. “Of course, anti-homophobia is part of that.”
When Clark was education minister, she oversaw BC’s 2003 Safe Schools Task Force, which produced no recommendations to address homophobia. She told Xtra last month that codes of conduct to prohibit homophobic bullying would be mandatory in BC schools and that administrators would be accountable.
Clark should have had her “top priority” front and centre in her new education policy, says BC Teachers’ Federation second vice- president Glen Hansman.
“I’ll wait to see it,” he says. “If you really mean it, it needs to be part of your education policy.”
Hansman notes that other leading candidates, such as Liberal MLA George Abbott and the NDP’s Mike Farnworth and Adrian Dix have yet to address the issue. Searches for bullying on their leadership campaign websites yielded no results.