Anti-bullying bylaw mulled by Summerside
City councillors in Summerside, P.E.I. are looking at enacting an anti-bullying bylaw in the new year.
On Monday, council voted unanimously to move ahead with a plan the city hopes will curb bullying at school and online.
Coun. Tina Mundy said law enforcement needs extra tools to deal with the problem.
"I'm getting phone calls constantly, from teachers, from parents, from children themselves. If there's something that we can do at a municipal level, to help protect our citizens, then I think we as councillors we need to step up to the plate and do something,” she said.
The council now has to develop a draft bylaw. It's the first step in what Mundy expects will be a four month process.
“It outlines and describes the behaviour. It lets the community know that it's unacceptable behaviour, and what the consequences will be of that behaviour,” she said.
About a dozen or so municipalities have put anti-bullying bylaws in place. In Regina, police can issue fines of anywhere between $100 up to $2,000.
But bringing in a bylaw has its challenges as well.
Earlier this year, the Vancouver suburb of Port Coquitlam dropped its plans to bring in a similar bylaw after the RCMP informed council the bylaw would violate the Criminal Code.
In Summerside, Mundy said the city needs to define what bullying is, and how to enforce any violations.
Councillors are meeting with cyberbullying expert Parry Aftab to iron out the details. Mundy said the city will also consult with Summerside Police.
The goal is to pass a bylaw by Feb. 27, the one-year anniversary of the city's Anti-Bullying Day.