An Alberta school board didn’t do enough to protect one of its teachers from being cyber-bullied by one of her students, according to the province’s human rights commission.
For almost two years, Vienna Malko-Monterossa was harassed by a female Grade 8 student at the Conseil Scolaire Centre-Nord. The girl made prank phone calls and sent nasty emails and Facebook messages.
The girl was expelled and sent to another school – but the harassment didn’t stop.
The teen then falsely accused Malko-Monterrosa of sexual assault. She also sent the teacher a letter calling her "an illegal immigrant" and "an insult to the human race."
In 2009, Malko-Monterrosa filed a human rights complaint against the Francophone school board for failing to protect her from harassment.
Malko-Monterrosa was cleared of the sexual assault allegation following a police investigation. All parties – including the girl herself – agreed that the online harassment occurred.
Malko-Monterrosa says the harassment made it hard to go to work and left her terrified of opening her email each day. However, the teacher says the school board did not take strong enough action against the student.
The Human Rights Tribunal of Alberta has found the board was liable.
"I feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest just to know that … they were held liable for their actions,” Malko-Monterossa said Wednesday.
She is also happy the decision has been made public.
"People can read about my story and understand teachers can also be targets of bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment and sexual harassment … and there's somewhere people can go in order to get help."
The tribunal has awarded Malko-Monterossa $7,500 in general damages for her suffering and $175 for her costs.