A group in Saskatoon is calling on the city to implement an anti-bullying bylaw, and organizers say support is rolling in.
Spearheaded by the Saskatoon Social Work Students’ Society, a petition has more than 500 signatures and Brigette Krieg, an assistant professor at the University of Regina’s Faculty of Social Work, said such a bylaw is needed.
“We don’t really have anything concrete that actually says to kids, ‘You can’t do this,’” said Krieg, who started the petition. “I find a lot of educators, parents and the community are in a space where we don’t know how to respond.”
She continued: “What the bylaw is intended to do is give us something concrete, that if there is bullying going on, we can actually sit down with kids and say, in kind of a pre-emptive move … ‘If you continue to do this, you can get fined and there will be a consequence.’”
She explained there has been strong support from outside Saskatoon as well, and noted that other communities interested in pursuing a similar bylaw have contacted her.
“I don’t believe it’s just something that Saskatoon needs, I think it’s something our province needs,” said Krieg.
Saskatoon Fairview MLA Jennifer Campeau, who is heading the province’s anti-bullying initiative, said while there is no formal plan to ensure municipalities create anti-bullying bylaws through legislation, she is consulting stakeholders to get an idea of the kinds of bullying issues in the province.
“We’re looking into everything that’s in place right now and once the legwork is done, we’ll be able to look at what we need to do,” said Campeau.
“It’s about just listening right now in terms of engaging these groups and learning what they’re doing.”
Krieg said the group will meet with Campeau on Tuesday. They plan to present their idea to city council at its next meeting on April 8.