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Published on Apr 26, 2007
In 2000, the Government of Ontario introduced the Safe Schools Act which introduced a "zero-tolerance" approach to violence and other problem behaviours in Ontario's schools. The Act gave teachers and principles the discretion to suspend or expel students engaged in some behaviours, and actually required students to be suspended or expelled for engaging in more serious behaviours. Almost all of the behaviours that led to a suspension or expulsion were acts that contravene Canada's Criminal Code, including such things as: giving alcohol to a minor, selling narcotics in school, bringing a fire-arm to school, and rape.
In 2005, Ontario's Human Rights Commission filed a complaint against Ontario's Ministry of Education, claiming that certain "races" of pupils were being suspended or expelled more often than others. They implied that the Act is somehow biased according to genetic make-up.
On April 13, 2006, the Human Rights Commission announced that it had settled its complaint with the Ontario government. The Ontario Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty, and the opposition Progressive Conservative party led by John Tory, agreed with the notion that zero tolerance for violence is an approach that has no place in our system of schooling (!!).
On April 16, 2007, Freedom Party of Ontario leader Paul McKeever discussed these developments as a guest of Christine Williams' programme "On the Line" (CTS).