Airdrie teen receives upsetting note, father frustrated with school’s response
By: Sara Wilson
| Posted: Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 12:18 pm
Just four months after the City of Airdrie took historic steps to implement its anti-bullying bylaw, the first public case of bullying has emerged.
Morgan Tempeny, a Grade 8 student at Muriel Clayton Middle School, has come forward with claims of persistent bullying, and her father Bryce wants the school to make more of an effort to make the threats stop.
“The school hasn’t done much,” Bryce said.
“I don’t want to say that they’ve done nothing, but I want them to do more.”
Tempeny claims that she’s received letters in her locker for more than a year, which include statements such as: “go kill yourself,” and “go put a rope around your neck.”
Tempeny said she just wants the letters to stop, and believes that the handwriting is a girls’ but the style of handwriting keeps changing.
Bryce, a single father who works away from town for weeks at a time up north in the oil field, is concerned with the mental health effects this is having on his daughter and is considering pulling her out of school, and enrolling in another.
“I’m sick of her coming home in tears,” he said. “She’s been so closed off, she’s afraid to interact with anyone anymore.”
Rocky View School (RVS) issued a statement on Jan. 17 stating that “in relation to this incident we are reviewing the support and steps taken since it came to our attention Jan. 7. Over the past four days, our school administrators have been investigating this complaint and have put in place several mitigation strategies.”
“In situations like this, we work with families to offer a range of supports, such as support of a child development advisor, before, during and after such incidents.”
Angela Spanier, director of communications for RVS, said because of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP), the school division couldn’t elaborate on the incident.
The City of Airdrie passed its Anti-Bullying bylaw – portion of the Public Standards Bylaw, on Sept. 16, 2013 with the help of fellow self-proclaimed bullying victim Mackenzie Murphy,16. The aim of the bylaw was to hold persons who commit acts of bullying accountable under the law.
The bylaw states that “no person shall bully any person in any public place, and no person shall participate in or encourage by verbal or public means the bullying of any person in any public place.
Penalties include a fine for the first offence is $500 but can be reduced to $125 if the offender successfully completes an approved anti-bullying counselling session(s) or educational program.
A $1,000 fine will be issued for a second offense.
“What she wants is to make an example out of someone,” Bryce said. “She wants the teachers to be educated (in the acts of bullying), we have this bylaw in place, but no one has used it yet.”
Airdrie RCMP representatives declined to comment on the case as the investigation is ongoing.
“Bullying is a serious societal issue,” the RVS press release stated. “We plan to continue our investigation of this incident until the individual(s) involved have been identified. Once identified, there may be serious consequences, upto and including possible expulsion from school based on the seriousness of the incident.”