Tbnewswatch Local News
Sunday July 5 2015
1:31 PM EDT
2014-03-17 at 19:18

Bullying problem

Parents and students rally Monday night outside Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board headquarters, protesting what they say is a lack of response to rampant bullying in the board
Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com
Parents and students rally Monday night outside Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board headquarters, protesting what they say is a lack of response to rampant bullying in the board's schools
By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com

“Snitches get stitches.”

The line sounds like it belongs in the latest Martin Scorcese film. But according to a group of local parents, it’s every day playground talk at some Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board elementary schools.

Frances White wants it to stop, particularly when it comes to her 13-year-old daughter, a student a Pope John Paul II School.

White alleges her daughter, who suffers from Tourette Syndrome, has been bullied all school-year long, a situation that’s gotten bad enough she’s had to pull the youngster from the school. Symptoms of the disease, which causes head movements and involuntary tics, got progressively worse as the school year progressed.

So too did the taunts from her classmates.

“Kids would walk by her, make fun of her, called her names, like Shaky Head. In class they would turn around and (she) would hear them laughing. They’d be pointing at her. She’d go outside at recess, sit against the wall with her coat over her head and kids would come up to her, point at her and call her names,” White said.

Eventually it turned physical.

White says her daughter was pushed and pinched, both incidents resulting in bruising.

“In time it was getting so bad she was coming home in tears. She constantly went to the office and talked to the guidance counsellor. She rang me on the phone crying. She wanted to come home.”

According to White, the guidance counsellor pleaded ignorance, that school officials hadn’t seen anything happen.

White had finally enough and phoned the principal, who she said did not return her call. A similar call was placed to the school board, who in turn phoned the principal of the school, who denied any knowledge of the situation.

She said she was stunned to learn none of the incidents were documented.

“I was so upset,” she said.

On Monday White led a dozen-person suppertime protest outside the board’s Victoria Avenue West offices.

TBCDSB officials were called earlier on Monday for reaction, but were not available for comment.

Mandi O’Connor, a parent whose children have attended Catholic board schools, said it’s frustrating to know there are anti-bullying policies in place that are being ignored.

O’Connor joined Monday’s protest and said the size of the school have led to an abnormal level of complaints.

“The parents are talking and we’re not happy with what’s going on,” O’Connor said.

“As a parent, it’s not that my children that are being bullied at the school, but I got fed up with the comments that I was hearing coming from them in terms of what was going on.”

White said she wants an apology and she wants future bullying cases to be taken seriously. Her daughter has twice contemplated taking her own life and she fears the worst.

White is happy with a solution presented by the school which will see the teen sent by taxi to Bishop E.Q. Jennings School when her Tourette symptoms clear up.

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my 2 cents says:
I am angry that the school board has not responded to this yet. I think it is important that we keep this issue in the forefront until they respond. Are they hoping it will go away? If the alleged lack of reporting and knowledge within the school are an indication, it seems this is their choice of action. Scary
Ms White, keep up the noise and make your voice heard. I hope you have others that will join you in this. My heart hurts and my stomach is sick with what your daughter has been exposed to. Seeing comments that basically condone this behaviour is ignorant and infuriating.
Ms White, please look to getting your daughter involved in activities outside of school. Building peer groups and involvement reduces risk. I wish your family well.
3/20/2014 12:49:49 PM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
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kwilliams162 says:
To Lydecker and others on here who would try to pass off bullying as an acceptable form of human interaction, then I'd suggest you try to educate yourselves. The world we live in today takes bullying to an entirely different level. Bullying was confined to the bully and the victim and not much beyond that. Now with social media, that victim has to endure taunts and humiliations at the hands of entire school populations and not just a handful of people. To suggest that bullying is a social methodology of encouraging people to not embarass themselves and to "fit in" is in itself an example of how ignorant Lydecker and others are. Can a peroson with Tourettes control their ticks? Can a person with a different skin color control that? Should a person of another ethnicity have to change to accomodate those views? Get with the times and get educated on the detremental effects of bullying. How else would you explain the drastic increases in teen suicides? Think about it.
3/20/2014 8:34:27 AM
Sprague Street Superman says:
oh look, another person trying to bully others into complacency.

life has embarrassing moments. if you don't like being embarrassed then don't do things that embarrass yourself.

In a medical situation such as tourettes, no the person cannot control it. so what, its a medical condition.

Life comes equipped with all sorts of scenarios. Its how we handle those scenarios that makes us into better people.

Running and hiding rather than facing a situation head on is being cowardly. Cowards will always fail to reach the same levels that brave people do.

So if you're being bullied stand up for yourself and make improvements to your self and situation so you will not suffer the embarrassment of your failures.

Bullies can only have an effect on you if you let them. Running to teachers and having your parents stage a mock protest with signs you made is not facing the situation, its only further giving the bullies more power.

Stand up for yourself, that's not something others can do.
3/20/2014 1:33:06 PM
hotchoc says:
In order to effectively deal with bullying you need to deal with the bully. When the bully leaves after this year from the catholic system then maybe the staff will not feel intimidated as they often were by this person. And they all know who that is. We keep looking at kids and teens as the main aggressors and we ignore the people in power who bully staff, hurt careers, threaten jobs. It happens all the time in this city and it happened in this great system here. When I read that in the media and what those who perpetrate this kind of conduct are held accountable or fired, I will feel we have evolved. Until then, it is just a bunch of rubbish to make people feel that something positive is going on. Deal with the kids stuff for sure. Make sure they are safe of course. But lets start targeting the adult bullies too.
3/19/2014 9:47:23 PM
keep it real says:
Brutus02 hit the nail on the head, Don't blame the schools point the finger where it belongs PARENTS! Teaching children whats right and wrong begins at home.
The sad truth is people are now consumed with finding things to be offended by and pointing fingers. The school is there to educate your kids, it's a parents job to raise their kids to be decent people.
3/19/2014 5:44:53 PM
fan says:
keep it real and Brutus02, you are both right on! Parents and schools need to act together to address bullying.
3/20/2014 10:26:54 AM
favpal says:
@toot sweet... I bet u were a bully in school or were not ridiculed or suspended for defending urself if u were being bullied...now adays the kids hands are tied no help from anywhere...damned if they do damned if they dont
3/18/2014 3:42:32 PM
lonewolf9 says:
There needs to be more education on these bullying issues and more communication amongst all teachers, students and parents. I just heard the story of a 12-year old girl who commited suicide in Southern Ontario because she was bullyed and picked on for having hearing aids. It just made me sick to my stomach.
3/18/2014 2:08:39 PM
AndersonSilvasLeg says:
Unfortunately, it seems as though if you want to put a stop to being bullied, you need to stand up for yourself and hit back.

And unfortunately again, the moment you stand up for yourself (since nobody else will, looking at the school board here) the victim gets the poo end of the stick.
3/18/2014 1:38:46 PM
ohWOW says:
Nice comment section. What happens to kids who do fight back.. they get suspended. Then even when they do get to go back, some are referred to transitions or Dilco.. teachers mark them as troublemakers. Solution, keep them at home if they want, no sense in letting them cause trouble. Bullying is a big problem yes, even in the public board. Some schools don't allow WiFi, why is the Catholic board doing it? To communicate to the guy upstairs... lol
3/18/2014 12:59:18 PM
aerwynslove says:
Waldo Lydecker - Children born with Tourette syndrome or any other disabilities never chose to be different... The fact that you think children need to be ridiculed by their peers in general for being different is ridiculous and that so many people agree with you is even more disgusting. Bullying denies children self-worth and takes away from their humanity. Bullies need to be stopped. You were probably a bully yourself as a child, as well as the people who agreed with you… It sickens me because there are kids committing suicide because bullies make them feel like they don’t deserve a happy life because they aren’t like them… Kids need role models not passive aggressive ways to get what they want. I doubt anyone adult or child wants to live in fear because of who they are. Parents and teachers and anyone who has access to children should be building them up for success, not setting them up for failure.
3/18/2014 12:54:38 PM
s to the duncan says:
Too many parents believe their kid isn't the problem, but once that child leaves home, they turn into bullies.

Hopefully with the use of a cellphone & or any type of recording device can the ones being bullied show they are being bullied so it can stop.

3/18/2014 11:39:24 AM
Parent23Boys says:
It's time to start naming names... These kids who are doing the bullying need to feel what its like to be ridiculed... If my kid was being a bully, I'd feel it fair to let them feel what it's like.
3/18/2014 11:12:25 AM
favpal says:
My younger son and daughter goes to st. Jude they are both bullied day in and day out both eptionally and physically the school says we will handle it and call u back suprise no call back I agree No yolerance what the tbdcsb means is no action no consequences and no accountability. ...parents are forced to send their kids to be tourtured day in and day out with no help. These kids look to us and its in the highschools too st pats my eldest goest there second semester I had to transfer her to churchill for fear of her safety and little girls are eveil when they want to be and no ones parents seem to care I fear for what has happened to our school system...when I was bullied I put up my dukes and problem solved my kids wount for fear of being suspended my response ill take u out for lunch and high five u for putting an end to ur bully...words arent working and we r in year 3 of bullying...the bullies have issues at home that need attention...fix their homes u help those bullies
3/18/2014 10:17:07 AM
Renzo says:
I attended catholic school in the 80s and 90s and it was a problem then. A friend was bullied so bad he did attempt suicide and the effects of that are still with him today as an adult. It's no surprise that this is brushed under the carpet as the catholic way is to hide what's bad and pretend everything is fine. These are children!! Stop ignoring the problem and pretending it doesn't exist!!!
3/18/2014 9:54:21 AM
Brutus02 says:
Kids who are spanked (not abused) figure out what is right and wrong pretty quickly. We live in a fragile society now where the perpetrator's rights trump the victims. We shouldn't be surprised look at the legal system.
3/18/2014 9:53:57 AM
KarenE says:
My son has attended St Martin's school and has systematically been bullied since going there in grade two. The "progressive discipline" model does not help when it's not just one child bullying, but an entire grade. Each student gets so many different attacks on my son before they move up the "discipline ladder". The kid that stomped his head in while calling him "poo skin"? I was not even allowed to know if they'd called his parents to inform them. When it's not just one bully, the amount of attacks is barbaric before anything's done.
3/18/2014 9:11:11 AM
one girl's opinion says:
I also had problems with my son at St. Martin's. I reported it to the Vice Principle at the time and she assured me that she would make sure that he was no longer harrassed coming off the school bus, she would personally watch to make sure the younger chidren weren't victimized the way mine had been. My husband would follow the bus and watch from a distance and she never once was there to observe, in fact there was no adult present to see that the children were safe. WE decided it was in our best interest to leave the school - too many children not enough supervision. I had hoped things changed when the leadership at the top changed but seeing your comment I believe the issue still remains. The teachers are great at St. Martin's but the fact remains there is not enough supervision for that many children at one location - there should be some kind of internal audit done - we can talk about stopping bullying all we want but until those in the lead take action nothing will get done!
3/18/2014 12:32:11 PM
smartguy83 says:
Can't be true. I drive by there every day and see 3 adults standing at kiss and ride and about double waiting at the buss drop off.
3/18/2014 3:48:24 PM
one girl's opinion says:
can't be true??? Tell that to my 6 year old who was pushed down but an 9 year old. He came home with bloody hands and a scrap on the nose. The school never called to tell me about the incident - because they didn't know it happened - the boy pushed him down and stepped on his back. Perhaps you should park your car and walk up and see what's going on yourself that way you will see what my husband saw for the 3 months he followed my son to school. Easy to comment from a distance - wait til it happens to someone you love your opinion will change!
3/19/2014 9:45:31 AM
Toot Sweet says:
Crying "bully" is just making yourself weaker.

Winners get up, dust themselves up and improve to make sure their previous mistakes are never made again.

Losers cry to the teachers, cops, and press.

So be a winner. Stop crying, get over it, improve and move on. That's what humanity does. We don't implement ridiculous rules protecting the weak by taking rights away from the rest of us.

or do we?
3/18/2014 8:53:04 AM
nads74 says:
@Toot Sweet. Please tell me you are 100% joking?!?!?!?!?!

I can't even believe they allowed your comment on the site. That is the most ridiculous thing I have every heard come out of someones mouth. I would actually bet money on it that you are a parent of a bully. Try being a parent of a child that is bullied, a child that HAS indeed taken their own life because the thought of going to school everyday was so unbearable they could not handle it anymore. YOU are the problem with society!

And for those who wonder what to do with the kids that bully...suspension isn't the answer, expelling them is the answer. Let see how much they love being a year behind everyone else, or having to get there grades via online course only.

They shouldn't be allowed around other kids until they can prove they are polite good students!
3/18/2014 11:40:35 AM
Renzo says:
He is a troll, aka Tim h aka s Duncan, a bully himself and looking for attention with inflammatory posts. Beware...
3/18/2014 1:31:33 PM
mystified says:
You aren't talking about the big mouth piece who has every qualification known to man. The one who copped out of a race challenge with Mr. Myers. I think I know what ill person you are talking about.
Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. Family, friends, politicians and cyber bullies.
3/18/2014 4:42:35 PM
razor_burn says:
Oh Duncan. Haha.
3/18/2014 2:19:07 PM
Teagan says:
Seriously! This has been ongoing with the Catholic School Board since my boys were little and they are now grown men. Even with approaching the school board on many occasions they turned a blind eye. In the case of Tourettes the more you are bullied the worse the stress in turn the worse the tics. The teachers and parents of the bullies need to stand up and say enough. Unfortunately, they behind their own. Your adults, stand up and do what's right. Stop protecting each other and protect those that are being bullied. Teach your students and children what it is like to be respectful of others and those that may be considered "different". Ms. White I feel your pain and your frustration all too well. The bullying in our case didn't end with school our own family members participated. Ms. White keep strong and don't give up your fight.
3/18/2014 8:51:48 AM
kwilliams162 says:
My daughter attends PJP II and was a victim of bullying early this school year when a group of her friends were targeted with verbal taunts as well as physical contact, and then the real kicker, the bullies were using their cell phones to take pictures of my girl and her gang. I went ballistic with this news and went straight to the school to meet with school administration to demand why these mobile devices were being allowed in school and what their action plan was going to be in addressing the inappropriate use of these devices. What I did get was a lot of talk, but apparently these bullies were well known at the school and it was addressed with their posse and happy to say no other incidents with my daughter. It does however beg the question that when this type of behaviour is clearly visible out in the playground, then a parent should never have to hear about this from their child. It seems that a great deal of turning a blind eye goes on.
3/18/2014 8:41:03 AM
festus says:
Everyone throws around the term "Bullying" too often anymore.
Is it an issue yes it is.
Any type of violent or stealing is totally no good.
Do I think all teasing is bullying, no I dont. Shouldnt be because of someones disability.
3/18/2014 7:32:49 AM
razor_burn says:
I have a cure for bullies. Let me know if you want me to deliver it to them.
3/17/2014 11:12:59 PM
itmatters says:
Bullying in all of Thunder Bay Schools Public and Catholic is a real issue. It happens all over the City. I have witnessed and experienced a lot of the behavior of bullying and have seen the victims. I have had to call the Police so that they could address this issue with a School. I was even told by a Principal that there is a pecking order in high school aged boys. Fascinating! Call the Police! No child should have to change who or what they are! But Bullying should not be tolerated! In the real world Bullies will be arrested!
3/17/2014 9:14:52 PM
fan says:
itmatters you are right, bullying exists in both school boards. It also exists in most business places. In fact bullying, the use of force, threat, coercion to abuse, intimidate or aggressively impose domination over others (previous poster) is systemic. It is much different than pecking order behaviour. Look around this city, province, country, world. You will see bullying of many stripes and colours. Having said all that there should have been a much better effort at the school - such as suspension for starters.
3/18/2014 8:30:01 AM
imjustamom says:
Suspensions are rewards for students. How about some community service instead? Picking up trash etc
3/18/2014 10:23:17 AM
fan says:
imjustamom, I don't disagree with you in principle however, in practice schools don't have the authority to impose community service such as you suggest. And forcing students to pick up trash around a school yard is a waste of time. Suspension is one of the few options a school has to remove undesirable behaviour such as bullying.
3/18/2014 12:27:01 PM
enos012 says:
Listen the so called 'bully' most likely has under lying 'issues' Maybe miss treated at home. Not doing well in school. Unproper diet that makes him irratable and aggresive, depressed, who knows. So instead of trying to understand you use the law and 'bully' the bully? Punish and make him feel worse, thus bringing on more wrath? I'm condoning any behaviuor like that...sorry got distracted had more to say but at a later date....
3/17/2014 8:07:52 PM
Synical says:
My sympathy for the bully's life and situation end when he or she uses that situation to terrorize another person.

My daughter attempted to kill herself 11 months ago. She almost succeeded, and it was because of being terrorized at school by these people you think expect my sympathy? I don't think so.
3/17/2014 11:11:57 PM
AndersonSilvasLeg says:
blame the victim much?
3/18/2014 9:59:13 AM
Waldo Lydecker says:
The fact that all the signs are made with the same marker screams that this is more one person who has a problem rather than a huge problem that is affecting everybody.

Bullying is natural and its how a flock is steered in the correct direction. Its a government of your peers for your peers. Its basic human behaviour and it should be encouraged not discouraged.

If you want to be "different" then don't be surprised when you are treated differently.
3/17/2014 7:42:05 PM
fan says:
Bullying is not about centering out those who are different. It is about distorted, anti-social behaviour. Bullying is unacceptable no matter where, no matter when, no matter who.
There are pecking order behaviours often demonstrated in normal child development. These are distinctly different from the bullying behaviour which is reported in this piece.
3/17/2014 8:26:57 PM
Dillon says:
Don't be different?!?! The girl mentioned in the article has Tourette's!
Besides, who's to say what the "correct direction" is? I'm proud of kids who can be different and be who they want to be. They definitely shouldn't have someone else telling them who to be. Ridiculous comment.
3/17/2014 8:50:09 PM
The truth sucks says:
Wow! You are an ignorant person. I think you should look up the definition of bullying. Bullying is the use of force, threat, coercion to abuse, intimidate or aggressively impose domination over others. According to what you just said, that means what happened to the Jewish people during WWII by the German flock was natural and should have been encouraged. Shame on you, and your parents as this is where the behaviour was learned from. I feel sorry for your ignorance and I can suggest reading material for you to help educate yourself. I sincerely hope you change your ignorant attitude.
3/17/2014 9:00:37 PM
Sprague Street Superman says:
It looks like you are trying to bully everyone to think like you do. If you are encouraging people to think, act, and do things differently then you have to accept people who do exactly that. Bullying people to accept your anti-bullying position just makes you look real, real stupid.
3/17/2014 9:10:27 PM
The truth sucks says:
Does your statement about my statement mean that you agree with Waldo? If I am bullying with my statements, then what are you doing with your comment at the end? Your last comment appears that you are also unable to accept people to think, act and do things differently.
3/17/2014 9:47:21 PM
unionbay880 says:
Wow 235 likes but not one reply in support? Hmmmmmmmm?
3/19/2014 8:21:51 AM
virtualrealityczech says:
@Waldo Lydecker

"Bullying is natural and its how a flock is steered in the correct direction. Its a government of your peers for your peers. Its basic human behaviour and it should be encouraged not discouraged."

This is undoubtedly one of the stupidest comments I have ever read on this site. Bullying is not basic human behaviour. Bullying is the sign of a weak person who feels the need to make themselves feel better about themselves by harming someone else.

The girl in question does not want to be different. She has a medical condition.

3/18/2014 9:12:45 AM
Waldo Lydecker says:
Bullying is just an immature method of corrective action. All throughout life a person will be affected by actions and the resulting consequences. When young those actions may be trivial such as wearing a certain article of clothing that others hone in on and ridicule the wearer.

That will happen when youre older, on the job or in life. It wont be as trivial as an article of clothing but it may be the way you handle a situation, or matter of judgement.

If I do something stupid and embarrassing my friends will let me know. They may not do it nicely but the point gets made. It would force me to reconsider my actions, thoughts and decisions and may give sober second thought before I did something even stupider.

We look to our peers for assistance and corrective approach. Some cry and call it bullying, others use it to learn from and improve.

Go ahead and be a cry baby if you want, but rest assured you will be a cry baby the rest of your life. The rest of us will gain confidence.
3/18/2014 6:30:44 PM
Doug Meyers says:
Huh? What rock did you just crawl out from under?
3/18/2014 11:54:00 AM
virtualrealityczech says:
@Doug Meyers

Usually you have a pretty good grasp of the situation, so I can only assume you missed the quotation marks referring to the segment of Waldo Lydecker's comments that I was replying to.

3/18/2014 1:42:53 PM
Doug Meyers says:
To "virtualrealityczech says" I am replying to "@Waldo Lydecker", not you. Follow the thread indents.
3/19/2014 7:07:35 AM
NewAgeOutlaw says:
Bullies are usually the weakest kids out there. Its time to teach kids how to fight back and not to be doormats
3/17/2014 7:38:16 PM
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