My child is being bullied at school. Does the school have to help?

3. Get information from the principal

Any time there is bullying, the principal must inform the parents of:

  • any child who is bullied
  • any child who is bullying others

The principal must tell each parent:

  • what happened
  • how the bullied student was harmed
  • what was done to protect the bullied student. This information is only given to the bullied student’s parents
  • how the bully was disciplined. This information is only given to the bully’s parents
  • how the school will help your child in the future, whether they were the bully or the student who was bullied

After the principal has given you this information, they must ask you if you want to talk about the help available for your child. See Step 5 for more information.

Report in the student’s record

The principal must put a report about the bullying in the Ontario Student Record (OSR) of the student who was the bully. This report is sometimes called an incident report. But no report or information is automatically placed into the OSR of the bullied student.

If your child was bullied, you can ask the principal to add the report to your child’s OSR. This can be helpful as an official record of the incident, especially if you are thinking about starting a legal case against the school board. The name of the bully will be kept confidential and can’t be included in your child’s OSR.

What the principal cannot tell you

The principal cannot tell you the names of the other students involved. They also can’t give you any personal information about these students.

If a principal believes that telling a student’s parent about the bullying would put the student at risk of harm, the principal does not have to tell the parent. For example, if a student is being bullied because they are gay, and the principal knows that the parent is homophobic, the principal can choose not to tell the parent.

If a principal does not tell a parent about bullying, they must create a document that explains why they made this decision. Sometimes, they will also tell teachers or school staff why the parent cannot be told.

If a principal chooses not to tell a parent about bullying, they must still offer to give the student confidential supports.

If any adult, including a principal or teacher, believes that a student needs protection from their parent, they must contact the Children’s Aid Society.

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