The Kamloops-Thompson School District has seen a surge in complaints about bullying since the suicide of Coquitlam teen Amanda Todd, who had been tormented by bullies.
"It has heightened everybody's awareness," said school district assistant superintendent Karl de Bruijn. "We're dealing with dozens of calls each week about instances between children that people may think are bullying, or it could be just bad behaviour with kids."
The district is determined to investigate all instances brought to staff's awareness, even if it comes through the media, he added.
During an in-camera meeting on Oct. 15, district Supt. Terry Sullivan informed school trustees that he'd requested an investigation into instances of bullying reported in the media.
"He was concerned about perceptions that the schools did not act on the complaints," states the meeting minutes.
On Oct. 13, the Daily News told the story of two victims of bullying. The kids' parents said school response to complaints had been inadequate.
"We wanted to reassure ourselves that we had actually taken action on certain things," said de Bruijn. "If somebody had not. . . . Our policy is that we take those things seriously and we look into them."
Privacy laws prohibit revealing exactly which instances of bullying were investigated following Sullivan's request. But the probe's conclusion found that the schools involved and the district responded appropriately, said trustee Kathleen Karpuk.
"School district officials, principals and district administration did, in fact, offer support and try to intervene in those cases," said Karpuk.
Trustee Gerald Watson said he was satisfied by what he heard during the closed meeting and by what he read in a report of the investigation.
"It appeared that something had been done in each instance," he said. "Often it's very tragic that these things occur but within the limits of what the school is able to do, it certainly seemed appropriate to me."
The district is involved in the province's ERASE Bullying (Expect Respect And a Safe Education) program.
But schools are limited in what they can do, said de Bruijn, so he's welcoming the news that B.C. is pushing to include cyberbullying in the Criminal Code.
"If people are using the Internet and forms of social media as a weapon. . . . then I totally support creating laws to deal with that," said de Bruijn.
Shirley Bond, British Columbia's justice minister and attorney general, said the ministers discussed the issue extensively at a two-day meeting in Regina.
"Some consequences exist under the current code, but our concern is are there are gaps, can we look at this differently, are there revisions?" said Bond.
Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson agreed.
"I did point out that certain intimidation and threats, that sort of thing, are covered by the Criminal Code. But we're pleased to look at that area," Nicholson said after the meeting.
"It's a serious issue and one has got a lot of Canadians worried and rightly so."