Bullying in schools is a very serious concern that can lead to school violence. Whether your child is the victim or a bystander, bullying should be reported immediately.
Bullying occurs when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using hostile or demeaning behaviour. The behaviour can be habitual and usually involves an imbalance of social or physical power. Bullying involves minors on both sides, or at least has been instigated by a minor against another minor.
School life is being transformed by mobile phones, the Internet, and social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). Kids as young as six years old are learning and playing online, teenagers are speaking a new language through texting, and students now have an entire World Wide Web to draw from when doing homework. While the majority of these interactions are positive, there is a dark side. Bullying is an age-old problem for students, but the anonymity of Internet communications is bringing the harmful practice of bullying online, as some kids are using these communication tools to intimidate and threaten others. Because of this, many Internet Service Providers and social media sites are working to put a stop to this destructive behaviour.
Cyber bullying occurs when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. Cyber bullying involves minors on both sides, or at least has been instigated by a minor against another minor.
Some forms of online bullying are considered criminal acts. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, it is a crime to communicate repeatedly with someone if your communication causes them to fear for their own safety or the safety of others. It is also a crime to publish a "defamatory libel" - writing something that is designed to insult a person or is likely to injure a person's reputation by exposing him or her to hatred, contempt or ridicule.
A cyber bully may also be violating the Canadian Human Rights Act if he or she spreads hate or discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or disability.
If your child is being bullied in any form, do not be afraid to report it. Depending on the severity of the crime and the information provided, you can report any incident of bullying, online harassment and physical threats to:
If your child is being bullied and your child’s school has a School Resource Officer, contact the Constable. They can: