Greater Victoria school district takes on bullying amid digital evolution

School trustee aims to broaden the policy reach that covers bullying to include cyberbullying

A Greater Victoria school trustee says she’s disappointed the district isn’t taking a proactive approach when it comes to tackling bullying.

Edith Loring-Kuhanga says the existing policies are completely outdated, and don’t take into account the fact that a lot of bullying is done online or through digital means these days.

“There are many issues that our students are facing in our school district, and it’s really up to us to take the leadership role and start addressing it through our policies,” she said. “There’s nothing in the policies that actually address the whole idea of what cyberbullying is and whether students could be suspended for that. There’s also nothing on prevention and promoting safe use of social media and technology.”

It’s a sentiment shared by the mother of a Greater Victoria teen who last month was found guilty of possessing and distributing child pornography, after she texted naked pictures of another minor found on her boyfriend’s cellphone.

The woman, who cannot be identified because her daughter is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, says the situation her daughter got involved in was the result of two-way bullying.

“This was bullying between a group of teenagers, from both sides. This involved private Facebook messages, public comments on Twitter. This involved cellphones, social media,” she said. “It’s not that the children weren’t aware what they were doing was wrong, they weren’t aware there were legal consequences.”

She says technology has evolved faster than most parents, school districts and the legal system – let alone teenagers – can react.

“Make your child aware that there are consequences for even being a small part of something. Let your kids know that if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t,” she said. “In a world where you raise your kids with good values and morals and you trust them as a person, they can still get involved in a situation that’s more mature than they are and they don’t know how to handle themselves appropriately.”

Earlier this month Loring-Kuhanga brought forward a motion at the school board to revise a number of school district policies to bring them up-to-date. The District Leadership Team will review existing policies and come back to the board within a couple of months with recommendations.

“I think it’s all of our responsibilities, no matter who we are, to take action on bullying and cyberbullying and start addressing it, whether it’s within our own families, within our communities or within our workplace,” Loring-Kuhanga said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

To each their own pipe. The new sewer main during staging in James Bay before it was installed in 2018, to convey waste to the McLoughlin Point treatment facility. (Black Press Media file photo)
‘End in sight,’ for Victoria’s annual sewage overflows

Wastewater projects underway should end sewage overflows

Community members Ed Hutchinson, left, Dave Noren, and Pat Graham, president of The Ladies Guild, stand before the new book house outside the Church of the Advent in Colwood. The tiny library was built as a result of the annual Church of the Advent book sale being cancelled due to COVID-19. (Submitted/Joan Hoffman)
Colwood church builds little library

Church of Advent annual book sale cancelled due to health restrictions

(Courtesy Very Good Butchers)
Very Good Butchers brand adds cheese to its platter

The Cultured Nut products to be rebranded under Very Good Cheese banner

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using piece made at Kennametal’s Langford site

The Greater Victoria plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

A provincially appointed consultant has recommended a change to the funding formula for the VicPD that will save Esquimalt a significant amount of money. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt to save a bundle on policing costs under new formula

Provincial consultant studied funding model, resource deployment for VicPD

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Most Read