Rehtaeh Parsons case to be reviewed by Ontario experts
Debra Pepler and Penny Milton to examine approach of Halifax Regional School Board
The Nova Scotia government has hired two experts from Ontario to review how the Halifax Regional School Board handled the Rehtaeh Parsons case before the teenager's death.
Rehtaeh died April 7, days after attempting suicide. Her mother alleged the teenager was sexually assaulted by four boys when she was 15 years old, and a photo of the assault was circulated online.
The public has questioned why the Halifax Regional School Board didn't intervene to stop the alleged bullying against Rehtaeh after the incident.
The province announced Thursday that it had hired Debra Pepler and Penny Milton to review the case.
Pepler is a psychology professor at York University and co-founded PREVNet, the Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network. Milton is a former deputy minister of the Ontario premier's advisory council on health, well-being and social justice.
Range of topics
The Nova Scotia government said in a news release the experts will review a broad range of topics connected to Rehtaeh's case, including health and education.
"We want the public and all the institutions and agencies involved with this to feel reassured that it's going to be the most objective and thorough process possible and so we felt it important to give that objectivity to people outside the province," said Marilyn More, the minister responsible for the advisory council on the status of women.
"This review is not intended to find a scapegoat or vilify a school or its teachers."
An interim report is due May 10. A final report is scheduled to be delivered a month later, on June 14.
The review will also examine mental health programming at the IWK Health Centre and within the Capital District Health Authority.
"We need to take a close and sensitive look at the programs, supports and policies we have in place now," said More.
More said she would take immediate action if the panel finds time-sensitive flaws in the system.