Parents sue B.C. private school after daughter severely bullied on social media

Parents sue B.C. private school after daughter severely bullied on social media

Parents also calling for nationwide ban on two social media apps that grant anonymous posting

Two Vancouver parents are suing an all-girls private school, claiming their daughter has been viciously bullied by classmates for years and calling on the federal government to ban social media apps that serve as “a breeding ground for hate.”

Natalie and Uwe Boll, both restaurateurs and filmmakers, have filed a civil claim against Crofton House in connection to a string of alleged incidents between their daughter and another student that have gone on for two years.

In an online petition, Natalie Boll said her daughter, now in Grade 8, has received anonymous messages on the social media apps Tellonym and YOLO telling her to kill herself and “drink bleach,” and threatening gang rape.

A message allegedly received by a B.C. girl who attended Crofton House, an all-girl private school in Vancouver. (Natalie Boll/Change.org)

The bullying came to a head at the beginning of the school year, she said, when the girl overdosed on Xanax in a school washroom. She was later admitted to BC Children’s Hospital on two occasions for self-harming related behaviour, Natalie said, and attends a different school.

The Bolls claim Crofton House, which teaches pre-school to Grade 12, did not do enough to intervene amid spiraling racism, bullying and homophobia.

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

In a statement to Black Press Media, head of school Ena Harrop said she does not agree with the characterization of events as portrayed in the lawsuit, and that the school plans to defend itself.

“While the school cannot share information on specific incidents, investigations, or members of our community, the concerns raised were thoroughly investigated, including working with our Vancouver Police Department liaison officer, and where warranted, actions were taken in line with our code of conduct,” Harrop said.

She added that the school’s curriculum includes lessons on bullying and cyber safety, and that teachers regularly talk with students about the impact of negative social interactions in person and online.

Mom wants social media apps banned

Natalie’s petition calls on the federal government to ban the two social media apps, saying no child should be subject to that type of harassment.

“Both the Apple App Store and Google Play have policies against bullying and harassment, and our Canadian government spends thousands of dollars on anti-bullying campaigns and mental health for our children,” the petition reads.

As of Wednesday morning, the petition had received about 450 signatures.

In a similar case in Australia, Apple and Google dropped the hugely popular social media app Sarahah after a mother said it helped facilitate bullying.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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