Hamilton Catholic School board
Someone Being Bullied
Male | Hamilton, ON   Canada
Board denies negligence in bullying lawsuit
Bullying Type: Physical / Emotional
Posted By: PowerTime
7/25/13 12:16 PM
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Hamilton's Catholic school board says it did not turn a blind eye to a series of alleged assaults against an Ancaster elementary school student. In fact, the board claims it wasn't even aware some of the incidents took place. A statement of defence filed this week on behalf of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board and two of its employees says the board was not informed of two alleged incidents of bullying against a student at Holy Name of Mary elementary school when they occurred in late 2009. The boy's mother did approach school staff about a third incident that fall, but no discipline was doled out because then-principal Brenda Hamilton couldn't verify the complaint. "The board states, as is obvious, that it cannot do anything about any alleged bullying of which it is not made aware," the statement of defence says. "These defendants deny any negligence as pleaded in the statement of claim, or at all." The boy's parents — an Ancaster couple — launched a $900,000 civil lawsuit against the board in April, after their 14-year-old son was allegedly targeted in a series of violent schoolyard assaults. Hamilton and James Vandenbosch, the school's former vice-principal, are also named as defendants, as are the two alleged bullies. In the statement of claim, the couple alleges the board failed, among other things, to ensure students were properly supervised during breaks on school property; to prevent the alleged assaults; and to properly investigate the bullying incidents against their son, who was 10 at the time. As a result of the board's alleged negligence, the boy suffered "severe and personal permanent injuries," including concussions, hearing loss and dizziness, the statement of claim says. It also notes his education and opportunities for academic success were impeded by the attacks, which allegedly involved two classmates forcing him to the ground and either stomping on him or repeatedly kicking him in the head. In its statement of defence, the board notes the boy told school officials he was hurt playing football during its investigation into the third incident. It also says he injured his knee playing football about a week after the first alleged assault. While the legal documents are open to the public, The Spectator has chosen not to identify the plaintiffs or others named in the suit due to the age of the children involved. None of the allegations contained within the statements of claim or defence has been proven in court. Reached by phone Wednesday, the boy's mother disputed the board's account, saying she contacted the school after each of the alleged assaults. In a previous interview, she also said she went to extensive lengths to resolve the issue outside of court, including contacting the Hamilton Police Service, the Catholic Children's Aid Society, the Ministry of Education and Child and Youth Services. In the statement of defence, the board says as far as it's aware the police were unable to prove any assault occurred. However, an occurrence report obtained through a freedom of information request says police concluded the boy was held down and kicked in the head at least one time during the third alleged attack. It also says police would liaise with the school about the matter and make recommendations to assist it in investigating these types of allegations, should a similar incident ever occur. It's unclear if any such followup took place. Ian Newcombe, the board's legal counsel, said the board also conducted its own investigation into the third incident, but was unable to verify that bullying occurred. If something did take place between the boy and the two alleged bullies, "we certainly are concerned about that and regret that," he said. "But obviously we can't go out and punish people based on an unproven allegation." Statements of defence have yet to be filed on behalf of the two alleged bullies.;



http://news.ca.msn.com/ontario/hamilton/board-denies-negligence-in-bullying-lawsuit



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Name: Hamilton Catholic School board
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Country: Canada
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