Education Minister Clyde Jackman launched a suite of policies Monday aimed at curbing bullying and inappropriate behaviour in the province’s schools.
The Safe and Caring Schools policy is a revised version of an older suite of policies, and in a government news release, Jackman said it’s fundamentally about protecting kids while they’re in school.
“We started with the premise that every child deserves to feel safe, protected and accepted for who they are, within the school environment and, indeed, in all aspects of their lives,” he said.
But Liberal Education critic Jim Bennett had a simple question in the House of Assembly Monday afternoon: what’s it going to cost?
“I say to the minister: great announcements do not make for great government, but implementation does, and implementation costs money,” Bennett said.
“I ask the minister of Education: what is the budget that he set aside to implement the new Safe and Caring Schools policy?”
Jackman didn’t answer the question, although he assured Bennett that the policy will, in fact, be implemented.
So Bennett tried again, asking the question even more plainly.
“Mr. Speaker, it was a simple question: How much? How much money did the minister set aside to implement this policy?” he asked.
This time, Jackman responded by talking about all of the different “stakeholders” who were involved — the students, the police, the teachers’ union and the Federation of School Councils — but he didn’t say how much it will cost.
Bennett asked a third time how much the policy will cost.
“I cannot give the man an actual number,” Jackman admitted, saying that it’ll be implemented, no matter what it costs.
“We are going to work with our partners, all of those agencies from school councils to the NLTA. We work to now implement this program. There has not been a stronger program in the school to counter bullying and to seek out appropriate behaviours before.”