Canadian school boards have recently begun to find themselves in the position of respondent under human rights complaints filed for cases of student-on-student harassment. This has raised serious questions regarding the extent of school board liability for the acts of students. It is possible for the current human rights legislation in Nova Scotia, used as a model in this discussion, to have jurisdiction over peer harassment; however, the procedural and substantive obstacles that need to be overcome make it a far from satisfactory avenue for a victim to pursue. The recent United States Supreme Court case of Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education has established that it is possible to ground such a complaint under the relevant American federal human rights legislation. If the reasoning in that case lends any guidance as to how a similar issue may be resolved in Canada, it is that there is not much that separates a human rights complaint from a civil action in negligence or breach of fiduciary duty. The effectiveness of human rights regimes in protecting victims of student-on-student harassment needs to be assessed in light of the increasing frequency of such incidents.
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William Georgas, "Student-on-Student Harassment: A New Paradigm for Canadian Human Rights Legislation" (2001) 10 Dal J Leg Stud 36.