Yukon NDP call for gov't policy to deal with student sexual violence in schools
Yukon NDP Leader Kate White says the territorial government needs to bring in a policy on how to deal with student-on-student sexual violence in schools.
In the Legislative Assembly Wednesday, White told the story of a now-former high school student who was sexually assaulted by a peer. The student was left to find support by herself, White alleged, while attending the same school as her abuser.
"When she reached out to me, she just said she didn't want anyone else to go through this," White told reporters afterward.
She said the Yukon's education department needs a specific policy that lays out what's expected of teachers and administrators when such a crime happens.
She wrote a letter to that effect to Education Minister Jeanie McLean on Feb. 7, asking McLean for a commitment to work with women's organizations and victim services on a policy.
The response to that letter, outlining policies that already exist but absent any firm commitments, wasn't good enough, she said.
"Initially, when I wrote the letter, I was really hopeful that the answer would come back and be like, 'Yes, we will work with women's organizations and victim services to develop a policy around this specific issue.' I mean, I honestly thought that would be the answer," White said.
"We have to do better as decision-makers."
McLean told reporters she couldn't speak about the specific case White had brought up in the legislature, but said she takes the issue of sexual assault seriously.
She pointed to policies and resources the Department of Education already has in place to address allegations of inappropriate behaviour and criminal activity.
"We're in the process right now of executing the Safer Schools Action Plan that includes 23 really specific actions that our government's undertaking right now," she said, referencing the government's response to what happened at Hidden Valley Elementary School.
"There certainly is a need to look more closely at other policies in schools, and I've not said no to that."