Fri. Jun 5th, 2020

Crofton House School denies negligence in connection with …

Crofton House School denies negligence in connection with …

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Crofton House School, the all-girls private facility being sued by one of its students over its alleged failure to respond to concerns about rampant bullying and harassment, has filed a detailed response to the lawsuit denying that it was negligent in its dealings with the girl.

In December, Natalie Boll and Uwe Boll, the girl’s parents, filed a notice of civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court outlining the problems they allege their daughter encountered while she was enrolled at the Vancouver school.

The girl attended the school from Grade 6 until the early months of her Grade 8 year in October 2019, when her parents pulled her out of classes.

Among the allegations were that the girl had overdosed in September 2019 on an anti-anxiety medication that she obtained on school grounds and was told would ease the pain from being bullied. What preceded the overdose was more than a year of the girl being the target of homophobia, racism, harassment and bullying, according to the Boll suit.

During that year the parents allege that another student began making disparaging remarks about their daughter’s race, suggesting she would be much better looking if she were “full white” and if “your mother had married a white guy.”

The parents allege the bullying spread to the anonymous online apps Tellonym and Yolo, with messages berating the girl, including “everyone at Crofton hates you,” “kill yourself,” and “drink bleach.” 

Natalia Tudge posing for the camera: Natalie Boll, holding a picture her daughter drew, at her home on Dec. 17, 2019. Boll alleges her daughter was a victim of bullying at Crofton House School in Vancouver.

© Mike Bell
Natalie Boll, holding a picture her daughter drew, at her home on Dec. 17, 2019. Boll alleges her daughter was a victim of bullying at Crofton House School in Vancouver.

But in the response to the suit, the school says that during the girl’s time at Crofton House she and her family did not tell school officials most of what they now allege in the notice of civil claim.

“Only after withdrawing the infant plaintiff from Crofton House did the Bolls tell Crofton House about most of the allegations made in the notice of civil claim … When Crofton House observed or learned about situations concerning the infant plaintiff, it responded quickly with reasonable and appropriate action.”

The school says that it teaches students how to develop and maintain appropriate interpersonal relationships and does not tolerate bullying behaviour in any grade. It says that while in Grade 6 the girl seemed lonely, with the school discussing the problem with her and her mom, and the school encouraging her to establish and maintain healthy social relationships.

In Grade 7, the school says it noticed that the girl seemed tired in class and, relative to the previous year, disengaged from learning.

In November 2018, the school says the mom first raised with the school what she described as hurtful behaviour directed toward their daughter, namely that the girl had become aware of her “low ranking” on an Instagram group. The school says it investigated and addressed the matter with all of the Grade 7 students, focusing on the responsible use of technology.

Later, in November 2018, the mom told the school about inappropriate comments made to her daughter by another student, including remarks about her physical appearance and race, as well as statements that her daughter was a lesbian and had a mental illness, says the school.

“Crofton House responded promptly and thoroughly by investigating the matter, meeting with Natalie Boll and the infant plaintiff, and in line with the (school’s) code, disciplining the student who made the comments and sent the texts.”

The school says it also promptly investigated when the mom reported in late January 2019 what she called mean messages about her daughter on Tellonym.

Contrary to what was alleged by the parents, none of those messages provided to Crofton House at that time said “drink bleach” or “everyone at Crofton hates you,” says the school.

Regarding the alleged drug overdose incident, the school says it determined that the girl had bought the drugs for herself off school property from an individual who was not a student at the school.

Published at Thu, 26 Mar 2020 15:32:50 +0000

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