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Family of bully victim forced to abandon court case


The mother of a girl viciously bullied in Whistler four years ago still wants the truth about the incident to come out.

But Leanne Dufour has made the difficult decision to drop a law suit against School District 48 over the incident.

The family’s decision to withdraw from the civil action was a response to a counter-claim filed by the school board accusing the parents of negligence.

"We did everything we could possibly do," said Dufour, referring to her actions following the brutal beating of her daughter Jamie in a public park in 1998.

"We are no match financially against this insurance company," said Dufour.

"To me this is just a tactic (by the school board) and it would have cost a fortune. It probably would run to $100,000 and to tack on another two years in court and put my daughter in front of kids who had literally tried to kill her. It just wasn’t the thing to do."

The Dufours were not the only ones served with the counter-claim. Eighteen students were also named in the suit.

Dufour fears that what’s happened to her is being repeated elsewhere.

"If any parent speaks up against bullying the blame is turned on the parents or the victims and we are seeing a pattern of this across B.C.," she said.

"Is this what everybody wants? Somewhere along the line someone has to take ownership and responsibility."

Dufour spoke before a provincial task force on school safety this week and shared the anguish her family has suffered for the last several years.

She is hopeful her concerns will be passed on to the ombudsman and somehow the truth of what happened in the school will come out.

"All we ever wanted was for the truth to come out and for there to be accountability," said Dufour.

The school board dropped their counter-claim as soon as the Dufours dropped their case.

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