Bullied girl's dad files complaint against schools
Published Tuesday, November 2, 2010 3:24PM PDT
A B.C. father who says his disabled daughter was bullied at school by three girls who hit her over the head with a music stand and made "derisive, insulting" comments has filed a human rights complaint against the Surrey School District.
The little girl, a grade-seven student at Erma Stephenson Elementary, suffers from cerebral palsy and a mental disability. In B.C. Human Rights Tribunal documents, she is referred to as "T." to protect her identity; her father is called J.T.
According to J.T., his daughter has been the target of the three bullies in her special education class since 2008, and that no amount of discussion with the girls or their parents has improved the situation. He says the girls called T. names, insulted her, hit her and spread a rumour that she was a lesbian.
The father says in his complaint that the bullies called T. "dumb, retarded, messy, weird legs, stupid."
J.T. wrote that he has spoken with the principal, and has not been satisfied with how the bullies were disciplined. In the two years since the bullying started, he says, his daughter has become deeply depressed.
The school district fought against the tribunal accepting J.T.'s filing, arguing that the individual bullying incidents didn't amount to a continuous problem. But the tribunal ruled that the complaint was valid and accepted it on Friday.
School district spokesman Doug Strachan told ctvbc.ca that while he couldn't comment specifically on J.T.'s complaint, schools in Surrey take bullying very seriously.
"The district has been an innovator -- a leader -- not just in the province, but nationwide, with some of the programs that it has introduced in respect to anti-bullying," he said.
Strachan added that district schools decide how to address bullying complaints on a case-by-case basis, but pointed to the PSST [Protecting Surrey Schools Together] website, where students can anonymously report bullying in their schools.