London Police charge eight girls with bullying

Oct 19, 2012 | News

Eight girls arrested in London, Ont. were charged with criminal harassment, including physical, emotional and cyber bullying. COURTESY WIKICOMMONS

By Sarah MacDonald

Eight girls from a London, Ont. high school are charged with criminal harassment after a student was bullied, police said.

A student at London South Collegiate Institute was a victim of physical, emotional and cyber bullying, said a London police services press release.

“The information came forward by the principal to our secondary resource officer who followed up on the investigation based on allegations that were brought forward on bullying,” Const. Dennis Rivest told Humber News.

“Through the course of his investigation he gathered evidence of the arrest and charges on eight young offenders.”

The youth offenders were charged with criminal harassment, said Rivest.

“Any time when a person is bothered and repeatedly bothered, that sets the definition of criminal harassment of the Criminal Code,” Rivest said.

Information about the bullying came from several sources, including an anonymous reporting portal through the school’s website, according to the police press release.

A close partnership with the Thames Valley District School Board helped prevent any further bullying and saved a person’s life, said Rivest.

The arrest announcement was delivered on Oct.19, a day before 250,000 TDSB students participated in a moment of silence for victims of bullying, such as Amanda Todd, said Shari Schwartz-Maltz, a spokesperson for the Toronto District School Board.

Attention around Amanda Todd, 15, a B.C. high school student who committed suicide after posting a YouTube video about how she was bullied,  has reached a global level.  Her case emphasizes a need for zero-tolerance when it comes to bullying.

“We will investigate any incident of bullying that comes to our attention to its extent, to the end of that investigation. If charges are warranted then charges will be laid,” said Rivest.

The identities of the eight girls charged are protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The London investigation continues and there is a possibility more charges will be laid, the press release said.