Bullies need to face serious consequences: Clark
B.C. Premier Christy Clark said Friday she is willing to look into whether bullies can be criminally charged after the suicide death of a Port Coquitlam teen came to light.
Amanda Todd, 15, took her own life on Wednesday. Weeks earlier, she had posted a video online, indicating that she was bullied for years. She said the harassment began when a boy sent a topless photo of her to other students at her school, and posted it on Facebook.
Todd, who switched schools several times, developed anxiety and depression as a result of the bullying.
Unlike in the United States or the United Kingdom, there are no laws in Canada that specifically address cyberbullying. Clark told CTV News a discussion about treating it as a criminal matter is needed, as bullies “don’t see the consequences that they should see.” However, she said preventative measures and specific training for teachers on how to deal with cyberbullying are also necessary.
"I think sending little kids to jail has other consequences, but I do think cyber bullys need to identified and need to be punished and we should have a national discussion as to what is appropriate for those kids," Clark said in an interview.
“What happened to Amanda happened because nobody stopped the bullies,” she added. “When bullies are hurting people, there are almost always people standing by and watching it happen. The message we need to teach our kids is they can’t be bystanders.”
According to the Maple Ridge School District, some students who allegedly bullied Todd faced “significant and appropriate consequences,” but no specifics were given.
RCMP says a full investigation is under way, but it is too early to determine whether any charges related to the posting of suggestive photos of Todd on the internet can be laid.
“[Investigators are] looking at all previous incidents or police contact, or any contact that this young girl may have had with anyone in the community including the police to see where there’s potential here to gather enough evidence to potentially identify an individual that may, in some way, have played a role in (Amanda) ultimately making this terrible decision,” said RCMP spokesman Sgt. Peter Thiessen.
Police are asking anyone with information about Todd’s case to contact them at AmandaTODDinfo@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.
With files from CTV British Columbia's Lisa Rossington