More than new curriculum needed to combat cyberbullying
By AdvocateDaily.com Staff
A new health and physical education curriculum for elementary students is not enough on its own to combat the problem of cyberbullying in schools, says Toronto personal injury lawyer Jasmine Daya.
In a news release unveiling the new curriculum, the provincial government said students will be better equipped to lead healthy lives as a result of the revisions, which will teach them about issues such as mental health, concussions, vaping and cannabis, cyber safety, healthy eating, and relationships.
“This modernization will keep kids safe in and outside of the classroom,” added Education Minister Stephen Lecce in a statement. “Ontario is a leader in critical areas, including mental health, cyber safety, and consent, underscoring our commitment to building an education system that prioritizes inclusion, safety, and respect.”
Daya, managing principal with Jasmine Daya & Co, tells AdvocateDaily.com that she’s encouraged by the promise of the updates but warns that the strong words need to be backed up with concrete action once the curriculum takes effect.
“They have consulted widely with stakeholders, and the focus seems to be on really important topics that are very relevant in today’s society,” she says. “But we need to recognize that it’s not enough on its own. Schools must do more to promote a positive and inclusive environment for students.”
Daya recently began acting for a girl left suicidal as a result of online bullying and harassment by classmates during the last school year as well as her mother as a Family Law Act claimant.
The breaking point came during a school trip to Montreal, according to Daya, who says social media posts were made about the girl, in spite of a policy restricting cellphone use on the excursion.
As a result, the girl was hospitalized, and continues to struggle with her mental health, Daya says, explaining that her client has been forced to quit work to care for her daughter.
Daya recently commenced a claim against the school board on behalf of the mother and daughter for losses they have incurred as a result of the Montreal incident.
“We are arguing that the school’s failure to adhere to its own policies enabled this occurrence,” Daya says.
She says the experience has reminded her of the value of looking at life through the perspective of young people in the context of her own role as a parent to teenagers.
For example, a recent discussion with her children illuminated Daya on the burgeoning popularity of the TikTok and VSCO apps among younger Canadians.
“It’s important to communicate with your children and learn from them so that you can ensure their safety to the best of your ability,” she says. “There’s a great deal to keep up with, and these conversations remind me how fast technology is evolving.”