POLITICS

Nova Scotia appoints two experts to look into Rehtaeh Parsons case

04/18/2013 11:48 EDT | Updated 06/18/2013 05:12 EDT
HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia government is appointing two education experts to produce an independent review of how the Halifax Regional School Board responded to the case of Rehtaeh (ruh-TAY-ah) Parsons.

Her family says the 17-year-old attempted suicide and was taken off life support earlier this month after enduring months of online bullying following an alleged sexual assault.

Marilyn More, minister responsible for the status of women, says the case has shone a spotlight on bullying and violence against girls and women.

More says the panel will prepare an interim report by May 10 and is expected to deliver a final report by June 14.

The experts will determine whether board policies were followed, make recommendations to address gaps in procedures, and ensure the safety and mental health of all students.

Given issues surrounding mental health, the reviewers will also look at the role of the Capital District Health Authority and IWK Health Centre, the region's largest children's hospital.

"This review is not intended to find a scapegoat or vilify a school or its teachers," More said in a statement.

"It is to improve the educational system, ensure our children are safe."

The two experts she appointed are Debra Pepler and Penny Milton.

Pepler, an expert in bullying, is a psychology professor at Toronto's York University who has been on Ontario's Safe Schools Action Team since 2004.

Milton is the former CEO of the Canadian Education Association and a former deputy minister of Ontario's Advisory Council on Health, Wellbeing and Social Justice.