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B.C. teachers have option of showing Amanda Todd video

10/22/2012 05:56 EDT | Updated 12/22/2012 05:12 EST
The B.C. government says it's up to the discretion of teachers whether they show students Amanda Todd's final YouTube video.

The video, which went viral after the Port Coquitlam teen committed suicide earlier this month, outlined how the 15-year-old girl was cyberbullied for years.

Four days after Todd's death, the provincial government issued a memo to teachers advising them not to show the video in class unless they were confident about responding to questions in a meaningful way.

Education Minister Don McRae said the memo is not a directive — teachers and administrators have the autonomy to make their own decisions about it.

He suggested there are other ways for teachers and students to talk about bullying that don’t involve showing the video.

"We have some international experts who we are looking to as a resource to make sure we know how best to deal with this anti-bullying issue and the Amanda Todd video, and they recommend that it not to be shown in class," McRae said.

The education minister said he hasn't read the experts’ reports himself but will be speaking with them about the issue later Monday.

Susan Lambert, with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, said teachers should address the video.

"Students are watching this video. They are watching it in droves, and they're bringing to school on their iPhones, on their iPads," she said.

"This video is out there, this video is what students are talking about. We can't ignore it."

Cyberbullying expert Wanda Cassidy, a researcher at Simon Fraser University, says teachers should show Todd's YouTube video, regardless of how comfortable they are with the subject matter.

"The teacher can be honest and say, 'Look, this is not an area I have expertise in but I know there are hurting kids out there and I know we need to talk about it,'" Cassidy said.

"Teachers, with other sensitive topics, don't ignore them because they don't have expertise."

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