New Policy 703 – Positive Learning and Working Environment
In December 2009, the Department of Education released its new Policy 703. It is now available on our web site at www.nbtf-fenb.nb.ca under Publications or on the DOE web site at www.gnb.ca.
It should be noted that the New Brunswick Teachersʼ Federation and the two associations, the NBTA and AEFNB, were consulted during the revision process. It was also an understanding reached between the parties during the last round of negotiations that we would be consulted during the review process.
Therefore, at first glance, one will notice that the five recommendations put forth at the AEFNBʼs theme conference on harassment held in Bathurst in 2005 were taken into consideration. Indeed, the title of the policy now takes into account not only the positive learning environment but also the working environment. In our opinion, this recognizes the teaching staff who works daily in the school environment and who has the right to do so in a safe environment, free from harassment and intimidation.
Without describing all the changes made to the policy, the following should nevertheless be noted:
* From now on, all situations of harassment or intimidation must be reported and dealt with, either through a discipline process, a mediation process, or by the intervention of school authorities and /or the police;
* School principals are responsible to put in place and administer a positive learning and working environment plan;
* Clear mechanism and intervention tools have been identified to put an end to harassment and intimidation (Student Code of Conduct, consequences to unwelcome behaviors, official complaint form, etc.);
* The expectations, duties and responsibilities of students, teachers, parents and volunteers are clearly defined;
* Students, parents, PSSC, DEC and other non teaching staff members can participate in the drafting of a school plan thus becoming partners in the learning process and in creating a safe working environment.
* The policy also takes into consideration all electronic communications that hinder the school environment even if they originate from outside the school.
Even though the policy does not address all the situations that take place in a schoolʼs daily activities, it nevertheless gives tangible tools to support principals and teachers in dealing with unwanted behaviors, be they exhibited physically, verbally or electronically, by parents, students or visitors to the school.
The NBTF would like to thank the DOE for its work and invite all teachers to read the changes made to Policy 703 on the positive learning and working environment.