Tuesday, February 09, 2010
David Fortin and the Bullies
When I read about what the bullies did to David Fortin it makes me both sad and angry.
Despite being big for his age, David never fought back when other kids teased or hit him. His only friend was a girl who, like him, was often bullied.
In elementary school, David’s teachers would dismiss him five minutes early so he could run home before the other kids got out of class. “Because otherwise, they would beat him up or throw snowballs at him if it was winter. And sometimes, when he didn’t have time, he would hide until all the others left. Or he would wait for his sister, and his little sister would have to defend him.
Sad because although I should know better, I still can't believe that people can be so cruel.
Gangs of kids lay in wait for David at lunch hour and after school. He was taunted, punched and kicked, his possessions stolen and vandalized.
“I don’t know how many times we had to buy new bicycles. They came and stole them from our yard. I can also tell you that the windows of his bedroom were broken more than once.”
Angry because these bullies got away with it, and school officials still don't get it.
There is no reason to believe David Fortin's disappearance had anything to do with bullying at school, claims the official who oversees the high school the teen attended.
Listen, we do everything possible so it doesn't happen...But you know, getting called fat, getting called a fag - look, unfortunately, kids go through that.
Oh boy. I could say such angry things. Because bullies drive me wild. I'm sorry to say by the time I left high school I had probably picked more fights with them than they did with me.
But David Fortin had a right to be gentle.
No Canadian child should have to endure what he had to endure. And bullying should NEVER be taken for granted.
Which is why I like this so much.
As of today all school staff in Ontario are required to report serious student incidents such as bullying to the school principal.
Staff who fail to report serious incidents could face sanctions under the Ontario College of Teachers Act for failing to comply with the Education Act.
And why I like this even MORE.
In what may be the first case of its kind in Ontario, the mother of a nine-year-old Kitchener boy is suing the Waterloo Region Catholic School Board and the Region of Waterloo for failing to protect her son from bullying.
The lawsuits, filed in small claims court, allege the boy has been traumatized by bullies who have repeatedly sent him home with bruises, fat lips, cuts and stab wounds from a pencil.
Because until people start PAYING for this crime against children nothing will ever change. Canada has one of the worst bullying records in the developed world.
And enough is ENOUGH...