Student bully has dad fearing for daughter's safety
Student suspended 3 times but can't be expelled, charged because he's 9 years old
An Ottawa-area father says his daughter has been bullied at school for a couple of years and neither the school board nor the school is doing anything to stop it.
Éric Demers is upset his nine-year-old daughter has suffered both emotionally and physically from the abuse at her Hawkesbury, Ont., school, just east of Ottawa.
The problem, Demers acknowledged, is the alleged bully is also nine years old, which is too young for the school to expel him or for police to charge him criminally.
The boy has been sent home by his school three times, but Demers said that has not stopped the bullying.
"You have a nine-year-old boy who's twice the size of a nine-year-old girl and he starts beating her up, giving her punches and kicks and throwing her to the ground like a rag doll," said Demers.
School board claims strict anti-bullying policy
The boy and girl both take the same bus and share the same play area because the school is small. The school board would not comment on this case citing privacy concerns. It did say it had a strict policy on bullying.
"We have several different measures from meeting with the parents, meeting with psychologists, social workers," said Marilyne Guévremont, spokeswoman for the Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario (CEPEO).
"Each case is individual. Sometimes certain situations could lead to detention, suspension or even expulsion in very isolated instances."
Guévremont admitted the CEPEO has never suspended a student from elementary school.
That led Demers to contact police, but they could not punish a nine-year-old boy either. The only treatment, they told him, is counselling for both the victim and bully.
Is your child bullying or being bullied at school? Tell us your story: email@example.com
Demers, who did not want his daughter's name published for fear of endangering her further, said this is not enough.
"I'm really scared that either she comes home with more bruises or I get a call that she has a broken arm or anything," he said.
"Anything can happen when you see the marks he already left on her."