Publisher’s message: school bullying
It has come to my attention that the letter published in the Pontiac Journal detailing a family’s negative experience within a Western Quebec School Board (WQSB) establishment needs further investigation and clarification. The teacher, as well as the family, sat down with me, the co-publisher of the Pontiac Journal, to clarify their positions.
First, I stress to our readers that the opinions expressed in the letter are opinions and not researched journalism.
The opinions shared by the family paint an alarming picture and this has put the school – and the teacher especially – in the public eye, even if not named in the newspaper. As far as the general reading public of the Pontiac Journal are concerned, this could have happened in any community, at any school across the Outaouais. But the direct community involved recognize the people. Interestingly, other communities, one which is 100 km away but served by the Western Quebec School Board, asked if the letter was in reference to them. The issue of safe schools is important to all people across West Quebec.
The editorial in the Bulletin d’Aylmer’s March 6 edition references the importance of the 2012 Quebec Bill 56: An Act to Prevent and Stop Bullying and Violence in Schools. The teacher involved says she stands by the provisions of this law. And the parents say they do, too.
Clearly, there are divergent accounts here, and the investigative journalism teams at the Bulletin d’Aylmer, Pontiac Journal and West Quebec Post are now working on collecting the information that both parties reference (police, doctor, school board, witness reports etc). This can take months. In the meantime, it is important to keep in mind that no matter the particular details of the situation described in the letter, bullying of all kinds does occur in schools, and there are steps to prevent them, and to recover from them.
However respecting the reputation of those affected by the letter, it is the role of the Pontiac Journal to further find out, process and disseminate this information to our readership. A follow-up will be published and we will determine reasonable care to the differing positions that have been brought to our attention. The team at the Pontiac Journal supports journalistic integrity and is working to fulfill this newspaper’s role in informing our community.
Lily Ryan, co-publisher
Bulletin d’ Aylmer, Pontiac Journal, West Quebec Post