Rehtaeh Parsons Society to address cyberbullying, youth sexual violence

The late teenager’s parents will operate a nonprofit to raise money for education and skills training

HALIFAX – The parents of Rehtaeh Parsons have set up a new organization to address the prevalence of cyberbullying, youth sexual violence and the distribution of images among young people.

The Rehtaeh Parsons Society will raise money to provide education, skills and tools to help young people.

Leah Parsons and Glen Canning say the society will operate on a not-for-profit basis and be overseen by a board of directors.

The society also hopes to help qualified non-profit organizations across Canada that have demonstrated progressive treatment and initiatives toward victims.

Parsons and Canning say their 17-year-old daughter was driven to suicide by relentless cyberbullying.

Rehtaeh Parsons was taken off life-support in April 2013 after a suicide attempt.

The society was launched Saturday in the Halifax suburb of Dartmouth, which included the introduction of its board of directors.

“Our goal is to work with our communities to keep our youth respectful, responsible, and safe,” Canning said in a statement.

Last month, Leah Parsons endorsed new teaching material that was introduced by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection in Winnipeg.

The curriculum, which is available to all teachers across Canada, is aimed at kids in Grades 7 through 10. It was funded by a $100,000 gift from the federal government to mark the birth of Prince George of Cambridge.

If the consequences of cyberbullying had been openly discussed in schools, Parsons said in Winnipeg that her daughter’s tormentors might have thought twice.

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