Mom launching bullying lawsuit

Michelle Macleod, left, argues her son Dillon, 14, has been repeatedly bullied since September and...

Michelle Macleod, left, argues her son Dillon, 14, has been repeatedly bullied since September and his high school has not done enough to stop it. She is now suing the school board and looking to charge Dillon's bully. (JAMIE LONG/QMI Agency)

JAMIE LONG, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

OTTAWA - A south-Ottawa mother is planning to sue Ottawa’s largest school board and have charges brought against her son’s alleged bully after a series of incidents since September.

Michelle Macleod says her son Dillon, 14, has been repeatedly targeted by another teenage boy at Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School in Barrhaven, and the school has not done enough.

The Grade 8 student told QMI Agency his locker was smashed — an event captured on video — and the other student spread rumours that Dillon was gay.

“It started with pushing and shoving, then ripping my hood off, throwing my hat in the water, but then it escalated,” said Dillon, who was afraid to tell his mom about the incidents.

The feud then boiled over Jan. 27 when the alleged bully asked Dillon to fight during the lunch break. He obliged and now has a laundry list of injuries, including a broken right hand.

Macleod didn’t know about the fight until Monday — four days later — when the school contacted her about suspending Dillon for the school week.

“They took absolutely no blame for their actions at all,” Macleod said after meeting with the school’s principal, vice-principal and school resource officer.

“The officer even said ‘bullying is not against the law’ and they said no bullying has been done regarding Dillon whatsoever.”

The other student was suspended for an unknown length of time, but Macleod said he hadn’t been suspended for any of his earlier actions.

“I had previous conversations with the vice-principal regarding him being bullied, but in the meeting ... they wouldn’t admit to it.”

The school’s resource officer did not return phone calls over the past few days.

The board did say: “There are two sides to every story,” but wouldn’t elaborate because the case involved an individual student.

All Ontario schools have an anti-bullying policy, which is legally required under the province’s Safe Schools Act.

The board told QMI Agency there is a progressive discipline approach, but Macleod argued it wasn’t followed in this case.

Macleod said she went into the meeting looking for an apology and possibly some changes to the school’s bullying policy. But the lack of remorse or receptiveness left her upset, she said, which led her to family lawyer Paul Jakubiak.

Jakubiak represented Kanata mother Krisha Stanton, who sued Ottawa’s Catholic School Board for $325,000 after her daughter was bullied in 2007. The case was settled out of court in November.

Jakubiak confirmed he is representing Macleod, but wouldn’t comment any further.

They are meeting Friday to file the lawsuit.

jamie.long@sunmedia.ca


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