01/09/2014 07:54 EST | Updated 03/11/2014 05:59 EDT

EMSB says secular charter endorses bullying

Montreal's largest English-language school board is condemning Quebec's secular charter in a strongly worded statement that accuses the Parti Québécois government of endorsing bullying. 

The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) calls Bill 60 a "bullying facilitator" that deprives individuals of rights recognized as fundamental in all non-totalitarian societies. 

“We have all been horrified by the incidents of racism and xenophobia which have permeated our society since discussion around the Charter began," a statement from the EMSB says.

"This proposed legislation brings out the worst in Quebec society." 

The school board says it has zero tolerance for bullying in its schools, and it fears that the proposed secular charter would produce a new generation of bullies. 

“This is bullying in its worse form ... An atmosphere of fear is being spread – fear among those individuals who wear objects such as headgear, clothing, jewelry or other adornments which, by their conspicuous nature, overtly indicate a religious affiliation.”

The school board says it has no intention of implementing Bill 60 if it is passed by the national assembly.

Public consultations on the proposed legislation begin on Tuesday, before a national assembly committee. Over 200 individuals and organizations are expected to participate. 

The EMSB says it will post a copy of the full brief on its website later this morning.