District PAC chair says policy to protect students against sexual violence 'long overdue'

By Chad Klassen
February 20, 2018 - 10:20am Updated: February 20, 2018 - 2:08pm

KAMLOOPS — District PAC chair Don Kitt says a pair of allegations that have come forward have caught the attention of all parents across School District 73 and a policy change is "long overdue." 

"Everyone felt for the all the students involved, especially the young lady," he said. "We felt for the parents that we involved. We all want a change and the first reaction is everybody is indignant with what happened and you want to step in and for something to be done right away."

Superintendant Alison Sidow presented the Safe Schools policy to the Board of Education on Monday night, a policy that was very well-received by the school trustees. 

"Certainly we are motivated to make sure we are on the cutting edge. What can be done should be done," said board vice-chair Gerald Watson. "Bringing in some of the better minds to tell us what can be done, what has been done in other districts. It certainly can't hurt."

The board and district parent advisory council isn't surprised sexual violence is happening in schools. It's now a matter of creating solid policies and procedures to handle such incidents moving forward. 

"No it's not surprising," said Kitt. "I think it'll always go on in some level. It's a matter of stopping it as much as we can and slowly change people's attitude."

Watson is happy the district is taking such swift action to protect students. 

"I think that's our responsibility," said Watson. "If there's a concern, we need to keep the public satisfied that we're doing what we can to run a safe school system. Society's ills are not going to go away, but what we can do we will do."

However, with the new policy, Kitt just doesn't want to see overreaction from students and parents alike. 

"You hate to say it that way, but when you put on workshops in school on bullying or anti-bullying, you get a rash of children running into the office regularly," noted Kitt. "Everyone for a while is a bully, everyone's being bullied. So I think you're going to have to watch this carefully."

The task force will be choosen by the next board of education meeting on March 12. 

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