Alleged bullying victim's family launching legal action against school board
The family of a Waterloo Region teen who says she has been the victim of bullying at her school say they now plan to sue the Waterloo Region District School Board.
The issues between the underage girls, victim “Sarah” and alleged attacker “Ashley”, began in December, when Ashley allegedly ran through a hallway at their school shouting that she was going to kill Sarah.
Sarah says Ashley was suspended over that, but showed up in the school in the middle of her suspension and attacked her, stomping on Sarah’s face.
Ashley appeared in court earlier this month, with her lawyer telling the judge Ashley intends to plead guilty to assault charges.
Despite the laying of criminal charges, Sarah says Ashley was not expelled from school, only told not to have any direct or indirect contact with Sarah.
But after Ashley allegedly confronted Sarah’s sister on a bus, Sarah’s family says they have feel they have no option but to sue the school board.
“She was pulling on my shirt, telling me ‘Look, you need to listen to me, this is what happened. You need to hear exactly why I did it,” Sarah’s sister tells CTV.
“I was telling her ‘I don’t care.’ Then she started screaming about the possibilities of different sentences, screaming profanities, yelling and swearing at us on the bus.”
Sarah’s sister says she got off the bus and called police.
Police confirm they investigated the incident, but tell CTV they couldn’t verify the conversations that happened on board the bus.
Sarah’s mom says she’s consulted with a family lawyer and feels she has no choice but to school the school board.
“I feel that’s the obligation I have to my daughter. It’s the only thing that the school board’s going to listen to at this point,” says the mother.
School board officials say they can’t comment on specific cases to protect the privacy of all schools involved, but the board’s priority is making all students feel safe.
“It is critical to know that follow-up does occur with all of the students involved in the situation to make sure that they feel safe in our schools,” said superintendant Diane Decoene.
Speaking generically to what might warrant expulsion, Decoene told CTV school boards have a wide array of consequences at their disposal.
“There are a number of consequences that have to be considered, there are a number of facts that have to be considered and there are a number of mitigating circumstances that have to be considered,” she said.
Sarah’s mother says there’s a history between the two girls, and that she previously provided Ashley with food, clothing and shelter.
Sarah says she’s still in pain and very afraid of running into Ashley. Although the school board says resources including guidance counselors are made available to help after incidents, Sarah says no counselors or administrators have approached her.
CTV has made efforts to contact “Ashley” and will continue to follow this story as it makes its way through the courts.