Michael A. Jones has a sad story about a case currently before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal regarding a young student who has endured over two years of bullying for her perceived sexual orientation, as well as her disabilities, while her school sat on its hands and did nothing:
At the Erma Stephenson Elementary School, you can be taunted by classmates with anti-gay slurs for two years, and school officials will adamantly keep their heads buried in the sand. At least that’s the allegation being made by one family in British Columbia, who filed a complaint with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal arguing that administrators at Erma Stephenson helped foster a climate where their 12-year-old daughter was incessantly bullied and harassed.
The daughter, referred to as “T” in the official complaint, allegedly experienced more than two years worth of bullying, including harassment from several students who repeatedly called her a lesbian and made fun of her for her perceived sexual orientation. “T” also was targeted for her disability — she has cerebral palsy and a mental disability. The bullying became so bad that several students actually threw a music stand at “T” hitting her on the head.
Yet, according to “T’s” parents, school officials and teachers still did nothing to stop the harassment.
Now, here’s a shocker. The school district that Emma Stephenson Elementary School is in, Surrey School District? They’re one of only a handful of school districts in British Columbia with no set anti-bullying policy that includes addressing homophobia. So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that an incident like this not only goes unpunished, but is allowed to persist for multiple years.
As Michael says in his piece, this sort of bullying knows no borders. The reason it’s important for EVERY school district to have comprehensive anti-bullying policies is that this sort of thing can happen anywhere — even in places we Americans think of as very, very liberal, nations where marriage equality is the law of the land. Some areas still slip through the cracks.
Here are a bunch of Canadian celebrities with their own It Gets Better message for Canadian kids: