On Oct. 10 at around 6 p.m. the RCMP in Port Coquitlam, B.C., received an ominous phone call.
It was to investigate a sudden death at the home of Carol Todd. The police discovered that her daughter, Amanda, committed suicide. It happened one month shy of her 16th birthday.
After posting a video on YouTube about her depression caused by bullying, Amanda took her own life.
This was another case of bullying — cyberbullying to be exact — and the news of her death lit up TV screens, made it to newspaper front pages and went viral on the Internet.
Here in Scarborough, R.H. King Academy started to increase its effort in alleviating bullying in 2009.
“We’ve been running a peer mediation program, where kids that have conflicts with each other [learn to work through them],” R.H. King Academy guidance counsellor Jason Podur said.
“It’s a way for kids to resolve conflicts through their peers without having to go through adults because sometimes they don’t want adults to be involved.”
The Amanda Todd story comes on the heels on a number of similar cases, including Mitchell Wilson, who was found by his father Craig Wilson on Sept. 6, 2011. He was dead with a plastic bag tied around his head. According to police it was another case of suicide caused by bullying. And there was also the story of Jenna Bowers-Bryanton, a 15-year-old Nova Scotia girl who police said took her own life in January 2011 because of bullying.
In light of the recent Amada Todd tragedy, many schools in the country have taken the initiative to crack down on bullying.
R.H. King Academy has in the past been a part of the Red Cross anti-bullying and anti- harassment program but according to Podur it is planning to restart the program Nov. 1. It involves training 10 student leaders to do workshops at R.H. King and other schools.
The school has also launched a new online program that allows students to report bullying anonymously on its website, he said.
“We’ve been doing these things for a long time,” Podur said.
“Amanda Todd just brings to light and focus that it’s an ongoing issue.”