Teen disappointed in response to his defending sister against cyber-bullies
Published Thursday, February 7, 2013 10:33AM EST
A Winnipeg teenager who stood up to his sister's cyber-bullies on Facebook in a video message is grateful for the support he's received but is disappointed charges haven't been laid in the case.
Tyler McFee, 18, posted a two-and-a-half minute video rant after his 15-year-old sister was threatened online by other girls who said they would beat her up at home and on the way to school.
The bullying started with name-calling and progressed to threats after their mother died of breast cancer six months ago.
"I'll make going to school your worst nightmare," one teen allegedly wrote.
Fed up, McFee did what any big brother would do, and stood up for his sister.
"You think it makes you tough saying you could beat up a girl? No...you're just trying to get approval from friends. No...it's not cool," the university student said in his video post.
His message has been seen by thousands and moral support has been pouring in.
"Most of it was very very positive," he told CTV News.
However, little action was taken against the cyber-bullies.
"The person posted a video and laughed at everything that's happened," he said.
Winnipeg police said they have seen the video. McFee was hoping charges would be laid against his sister's cyber stalkers or a restraining order would be issued, but that didn't happen.
"I'm a little upset because I really wanted something to happen here," said McFee.
A police spokesperson said they spoke to everyone involved and have closed the matter.
However, the Facebook profile of the alleged bully is no longer active, said McFee.
"I almost feel like an Amanda Todd kinda thing... because they're bullying her pretty hard," said McFee.
In a cry for help, Todd, 15, posted a video to YouTube about the years of bullying she endured before commiting suicide last October.
Todd's last words on her video were: "I have nobody. I need someone."
The death of the Port Coquitlam, B.C., teen launched vigils, tributes and calls for a national anti-bullying strategy -- yet a proposal for that was defeated in the House of Commons.
Privacy lawyer Brian Bowman, who helps bullying victims get justice, said cyber cases are on the rise.
"A threat is a threat. Doesn't matter if it's online or offline," said Bowman.
In January, a 17-year-old Brandon, Man., girl was charged with uttering death threats on Facebook.
Last year, eight girls in London, Ont., were charged with harassing another student online and in person.
The Manitoba government said it's making it easier to crack down on bullies by enforcing a mandatory reporting policy in schools.
"The principal will make a determination on how to deal with that in the best interests of the student and the community," said Education Minister Nancy Allan.
Mary Hall of Safe Schools Manitoba said there should be dialogue in the classroom about bullying. But parents need to talk to their children at home about the issue, she said.
"We can have legislation, policies and codes of conduct, and those are huge preventative pieces," said Hall.
"But we also need to have those ongoing discussions with young people," she said.
Darren McFee said his daughter shut down when he asked about the problem.
"I didn't see how bad it was...kids are reluctant to say anything," he said.
"Her brother knew more than I did."
If you know someone who's a harassment victim, Bowman suggests contacting the platform -- Facebook or Twitter -- and going to the police to determine your options.
A recent Ipsos Reid poll commissioned by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada suggested 78 per cent of Canadians want more action taken to reduce bullying while 94 per cent said it's the school's responsibility to manage the issue.
Fifty-nine per cent surveyed reported being bullied as a child or teen.
Last June, Quebec amended its Education Act to include anti-bullying measures. Teaches must report and address bullying and intervene. Parents must be notified if their child is a bully or a victim.
"Parents of a child who's been bullied are going to have a right to know what are the consequences for the student who's done the bullying behaviour," said Mona Segal, an educational consultant.
"In the past that information was confidential, " said Segal.
Many parents, including Joyce Shanks, like the new Quebec law.
"The culture has to change in Canada for students feel safe and go to school in a safe environment," said Shanks.
"This is definitely a step in the right direction," she said.
Belinda Magee, a school program co-ordinator at Royal Vale Elementary School, believes the law will give school officials the tools they need to deal with the problem.
"I think it's going to send a message to the kids that are bullying to stop their behaviour," she said.
"It's going to send a message to the kids that are being bullied that they are getting the support that they need."
-- With files from CTV's Rajeev Dhir, Jill Macyshon and Kevin Gallagher.
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