It often seems that no sooner does summer arrive that, before you know it, you find yourself with a shopping cart full of back-to-school supplies.
As parents we observe our kids’ transformation from "school’s out" to "I can’t wait for the first day!" and smile at the familiar feelings from days gone by.
As a teacher, and now as an MLA, I want to do whatever I can to nurture these feelings of excitement and belonging for all students in Manitoba. The provincial government is investing in reducing class sizes in our schools by hiring more teachers to provide more one-on-one attention for our students and by funding renovations for bigger, better classrooms—including one at École Julie Riel.
Despite the best efforts of parents, teachers, school boards and administrators, the sad reality is some students will return to school this year with some grave concerns about bullying. It is for this reason that the provincial government has introduced Bill 18, the Public Schools Amendment Act (Safe and Inclusive Schools), which will explicitly ensure that every child has the right to be safe and protected from bullying. Discrimination of any kind, including homophobia, cannot and must not be tolerated.
The Louis Riel School Division is already leading the way on inclusivity in schools by introducing a Respect for Human Diversity Policy to help protect students in all of its 40 schools from bullying.
A new school year comes with many emotions, from anticipation and excitement to nervousness and apprehension. Knowing that our children are in a safe and welcoming atmosphere is imperative. Doing all that we can to help make this a reality will be critical for our children to reach their fullest potential. Isn’t that, after all, what we all wish for most, for those we love without limit?
Feel free to contact me at 204-255-7840, by email at Theresa.Oswald@YourManitoba.ca or to stop by my office at H-1631 St. Mary’s Rd.