Bullying Results in Teenage Suicide – Should Legislation Play a Role in Anti-Bullying Efforts?

On Wednesday October 10th, 2012, 15 year old Amanda Todd, victim of bullying, was found dead in her home in Port Coquitlam, BC. BC Premier Christy Clark has commented on the suicide and argues that the issue of bullying should be addressed through the education system, and not through legislation.

Prior to the suicide, Amanda posted a video on YouTube, flipping through a series of flashcards and presenting the incidences of bullying she suffered. She explained that not only was she bullied at school, but was also bullied online, which has prompted discussions of allowing the police to trace cyber bullies through the Internet.

Clark, however, cautions against creating laws that are going to impinge on people’s privacy and freedom of speech, as these are important principles that need to be preserved. Instead, Clark argues that education is the tool needed to battle bullying. Clark and her government announced a series of anti-bullying initiatives in the education system last June.

Simon Fraser University criminologist Brenda Morrison argues that the community also needs to step up in its battle against bullying. Morrison states that a part of what Amanda needed was a caring community, yet no one was there to stand up for her when she was being bullied.

Bullying is a serious and persistent problem in BC and the RCMP has identified bullying as the second most serious youth issue, behind substance abuse. The complex issue of bullying is pressing, and today’s new technologies continuously create new mediums through which bullying can take place. Yet social media, one of the mediums through which Amanda was bullied, has ironically become a place of support, as various groups and individuals have posted supportive messages for Amanda and, presumably, her friends and family on Facebook.

 

The two articles upon which this blog is based can be found below:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bullying-should-be-fought-with-education-not-legislation-premier/article4609443/

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/coquitlam-girl-who-posted-bullying-video-takes-own-life/article4607133/

About ZS

First year law student at the Univeristy of Victoria. Graduated from UBC with a major in International Relations and a minor in English Literature in 2012. The views expressed in the blog are not necessarily those of AdviceScene, nor the writer, nor do they consistute legal advice.

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