Grieving dad says expelling bullies not 'final answer'
Published Thursday, December 1, 2011 9:12AM EST
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 6:44AM EDT
A grieving Ottawa father of a teen who committed suicide says he supports proposed legislation that would allow Ontario schools to expel bullies, but also believes it is also important to understand what drives young people to torment others.
Allan Hubley is still mourning the loss of his 15-year-old son, Jamie, an Ottawa high school student who took his own life in October.
Jamie Hubley left an online farewell to friends and family, explaining that he could no longer bear the taunts and subsequent depression that he suffered as a result of being the only openly gay student in his high school.
In the wake of Jamie Hubley's tragic death, the Ontario government has announced new legislation that would allow schools to permanently expel students for bullying.
On Thursday, Hubley's father said he believed expulsion was only part of the solution to the wider bullying issue.
"I think expelling them is not the final answer, it's important to add that step to the levels of punishment," Allan Hubley told CTV's Canada AM on Thursday.
"But we've got to find out what's making these kids bully."
Hubley said it is his understanding that many bullies have problems at home, suggesting that there may be a need for social workers or police to probe the underlying causes in individual cases.
He suggested the legislation should aim to ensure that "somebody goes to that next step and finds out what's happening to these kids in their homes, making sure that the parents are aware that their kids are bullying and steps are taken to correct the behaviour."
The bill that the Ontario government has brought forward would also compel all schools to allow students to organize gay-straight clubs that promote tolerance.
Jamie Hubley had been trying to establish a similar club in his high school at the time of his death, his father said.
"He wanted a safe place in the school for kids to go," Allan Hubley said.
"I loved him so much for that caring for others that he had. And this bill will obviously help kids in school form clubs like that and I believe that's a nice tribute to my boy and what he was trying to do."
Hubley said the proposed legislation still needs tinkering and he is working with two Ottawa-area MPs to make it more effective.
"There's a lot in this bill that is good, but it is just the first step," he said.
The Ontario government's anti-bullying legislation comes in the same week that a Quebec teenager killed herself after being tormented by her schoolmates since she started high school.
Marjorie Raymond of Ste-Anne-des-Monts, Que., died Monday. She was 15 years old.