Father of Quebec teen who committed suicide wants stricter anti-bullying measures - InfoNews

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Father of Quebec teen who committed suicide wants stricter anti-bullying measures

Simon Dufour is shown in this handout image provided by his father Martin Dufour. The sister of a 15-year-old boy who committed suicide is urging people to take action against bullying in the hopes of saving lives. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO **MANDATORY CREDIT **
November 27, 2017 - 2:36 PM

MONTREAL - The father of a Quebec teen who committed suicide last week after years of alleged incessant bullying wants stricter measures for how schools deal with intimidation.

Martin Dufour said his 15-year-old son Simon was bullied in primary school, with the taunting extending into his time in secondary school.

Dufour said he spoke with administrators over the years but that nothing ultimately helped his son.

"What I would like to see is a provincial guideline for every school that they should, that they could, that they would apply for everyone who's a victim or is bullied," he told The Canadian Press in an interview Monday.

He believes such a plan already existed at his son's school in Longueuil, south of Montreal, but is unclear whether it was actually implemented.

"If they did (bring it in), they're not providing any feedback to parents," said Dufour, who is hoping for answers when he meets with school administrators this week.

Described by family as someone who loved listening to music, playing video games and cracking jokes, Simon had faced relentless bullying but his father noted there was an uptick in recent months and that there were no direct signs things were going badly.

That's perhaps the most hurtful thing, said his father, who before leaving for a hockey tournament last Thursday was greeted with a smile and a hug from his son at 5 a.m.

"Everything seemed fine but it wasn't the case," Dufour said.

According to him, it's time for bullies to be held accountable for their actions, with harsher punishment for those who bully on a regular basis.

"There are so many questions for which we won't get any answers, so I want something to be done, I want the school to move on this," Dufour said. "If there were people bullying Simon, I want them to (be subject) to the full extent of the law."

The boy's older sister, Karine Dufour, made her own impassioned plea last week, urging people in a Facebook post to take action against bullies and speak out.

The message had been shared more than 30,000 times as of Monday afternoon.

A spokeswoman for the Longueuil police says their probe into the boy's death is ongoing.

"At our level, we don't have any links with bullying," Claudine Despres said. "For now, the investigation is ongoing."

Investigators are interviewing people to get a better idea of what happened last Thursday.

Dufour said he was satisfied that Longueuil police would probe the death more thoroughly.

"(But) unfortunately, it's too late," Dufour said. "Simon is dead and nothing will bring him back."

— Young people experiencing suicidal thoughts are encouraged to contact Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.

— Follow @sidhartha_b on Twitter.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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