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Janice Kennedy says student protest is leading to change

An RCMP vehicle outside Stephenville High School during a recent lockdown.
An RCMP vehicle outside Stephenville High School during a recent lockdown. - Star file photo

Janice Kennedy, executive director of the Bay St. George Women’s Council, said she is encouraged by the news that the Schools Act is under review.

This is in light of what has happened at Stephenville High School.

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Students at the school held a silent protest last week after a male student, who is charged with sexually assaulting three female students, had been allowed back in school, but has since left the school on his own accord.

“The students who held their protest played an important role because this is really about them having a safe place to go to school and feel safe,” Kennedy said.

She was concerned about the situation at Stephenville High School with this male student permitted to return to the school where the victims attend.

“We are concerned the education and justice system are not guaranteeing the safety of victims,” she said last week.

The Newfoundland and Labrador English School Board recognized there were deficiencies when it comes to sexual assault issues and has been holding consultations with a number of community organizations.

Kennedy said the Bay St. George Women’s Council hasn’t been in on those consultations, but there is representation by the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

With Education Minister Dale Kirby saying the Schools Act is under review, Kennedy said she is very pleased and it was needed, and she’s glad the government realized there is a need to address the Schools Act and develop a sexual assault policy.

She said she hopes this policy will be put into place sooner rather than later.

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