Cyberbullying and Safe Schools Act

Good afternoon students.

Although SSA officially became part of the Ontario Ministry of Education Act (Act) in 1990 the ongoing issue of bullying and now cyberbullying has become very serious. Cyberbullying is especially menacing since kids can hide behind an anonymous online identity and send threatening and hurtful messages to each other. Several children across North America have committed suicide over this phenomenon.

An unprecedented case is the Phoebe Prince case, currently ongoing in criminal court in Massachusetts. A number of peers cyberbullied and bullied her relentlessly and even though her mother approach two educators no action was taken. After a particularly difficult day at school, Phoebe committed suicide in her bedroom. I know her mother attempted to stop the bullying but personally I would have pulled my child out of school and contacted the school board, as well as the police, if that was happening to my daughter. I don’t blame the mother. I do believe the poor woman had no idea of her rights, as she was a recent immigrant from Ireland but what a shame on so many levels that young Phoebe felt so isolated and destitute.
video: Phoebe Prince, 15, may have committed suicide because of cyber bullying.

The case is unprecedented because six teenagers have been criminally charged in connection with this case. Two of the teens are being tried in adult court since they are of legal age. Currently Phoebe’s Law is on the books in Massachusetts dealing specifically with cyberbullying and bullying. Prezi: Workshop/Anti-Bullying and Safe Schools Act in Ontario

In Ontario cyberbullying and bullying is a criminal charge and receives an automatic suspension.  On a principal’s request it can lead to expulsion even if the act occurs only once.  That’s the stuff we need here.  This is not a kids’ game. This is not a stage children are going through…it’s brutalization, plain and simple.
video: Cyberbullying’s Got 2 Go Assemblies by Bruce Langford

I will be watching the headlines to see what happens to the bullies responsible for ending Phoebe’s life.  I’m sure a lot of people in the world will be doing the same.

video: Larry King Live Interviews Bullying Expert Dr Debra Pepler of York University
video:  It Gets Better-  LGBT Anti-Bullying Movement

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  • whatsaysyou  On April 24, 2011 at 6:40 am

    Hello, teacher. Thank you so much for bringing up the issue about bullying and cyber bullying. I agree that every child needs to be kept safe from any form of bullying as well as getting educated about it. I am pleased to read how Ontario, Canada takes bullying very seriously and it is good to see that people are walking the walk about combating bullies rather than sweep it all under the rug. As a blogger, I always believe that children who bully, as long as their bad behaviour is not nipped as early as possible, are very likely to become tomorrow’s moralless monsters.

  • teacher  On January 16, 2012 at 3:13 am

    Thank you. I have a very emotional investment in this issue, in spite of not having been a victim of bullying during my childhood and youth. Rather as a teacher I become very disconcerted when a child is afraid to come to school. The worst case in one of my classes involved 2 six year old boys – one boy beat the other one up on the schoolyard and that child didn’t want to come to school anymore. His mother cried to me during an interview….until then I had no idea. I arranged with the administration to keep him safe by allowing him to be in the office to wait for his school bus and any time he felt nervous to go out onto the yard (of course controls were put into place regarding the other boy). Fortunately in this case the aggressive boy’s mother was very distraught and she gave us permission to use school discipline accordingly. Sometimes good parents have a difficult time raising healthy children. Who knows why?

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