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Perception just as hurtful.

A young BC man had a miserable time in high school being harassed by his fellow students who targeted him as being a homosexual. He was not, in fact, gay and evidence showed that his classmates knew that. The BC Human Rights Tribunal concluded that he had been discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation and that his School Board was responsible. The Board successfully appealed this decision, the judge ruling that since Mr Jubran was not homosexual, and the other students did not believe he was homosexual despite their taunts, there was no discrimination. Mr Jubran took his case to the BC Court of Appeal. It asked the question: "Must a person who complains of discriminatory harassment on the basis of sexual orientation actually be homosexual or perceived by his harassers to be homosexual?" The Court wrote that discrimination can occur as a matter of perception as well as fact. In this case, the effect on the student was the same. Justice Levine cited with approval "... the Supreme Court of Canada's articulation of the importance of a discrimination-free school environment and the duty of the School Board to provide it. That environment is mandated by the special position educational institutions occupy in fostering the values of our society and by the Code [Human Rights Code of BC], which requires those who provide services to the public to do so in a non-discriminatory way, so as to foster the full participation of individuals in the life of British Columbia, in a climate of understanding, mutual respect and equality of dignity and rights." The Court of Appeal reinstated the decision of the Human Rights Tribunal.

School District No. 44 (North Vancouver) v. Jubran, 2005 BCCA 201
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Title Annotation:School District No. 44 (North Vancouver) v. Jubran
Publication:LawNow
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Dec 1, 2005
Words:286
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