The city’s police committee has broadened its approach on bullying.
© MIke Carson/Journal Pioneer
Councillor Tina Mundy, chairwoman of the city's police services committee, sees anti-bullying initiative expanded.Mike Carson/Journal Pioneer
On Tuesday night, the committee recommended to council that it continue pursuing action against bullying by supporting community programs, promoting education and public consultation.
The committee suggested that this could be done by making it part of the mandate of the city-struck Community Safety and Crime Prevention Advisory Committee or a similar group or task force.
The committee also recommended the city provide funding of up to $5,000 to support anti-bulling activities.
This wide-ranging commitment has resulted from a motion made last year by police committee chairwoman Tina Mundy who urged city council to draft an anti-bullying bylaw to deal with the problem being experienced in Summerside schools.
While other councillors liked the idea, there was some concern raised about the effectiveness such a localized bylaw would have.
In October, council directed Chief Administrative Officer Bob Ashley to work in conjunction with Police Chief David Poirier and the city’s legal department to research the possibility of creating an anti-bullying bylaw.
The report found that enforcement of such a bylaw would be challenging. Other municipalities that have enacted similar legislation have had little or no success in convictions.
In his report, Ashley noted that Port Coquitlam, B.C. was moving ahead with an anti-bullying bylaw. The city was the home of Amanda Todd, a teen who took her own life after being maliciously bullied. That city has subsequently nixed the proposed bylaw after a legal review determined the measure would likely have infringed on the Criminal Code of Canada and Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Council here is closely watching the progress of a federal anti-bullying law that is under discussion in Ottawa.
There is a problem facing the city involving the Community Safety and Crime Prevention Advisory Committee. That group has been inactive for six months with the resignation of the committee chairman.
Councillor Peter Holman said there is a move to get the committee back on track and he will begin talks with the committee to reorganize and work with the city on dealing with the new anti-bullying initiative.