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Bullying (iStockphoto)
Bullying (iStockphoto)

Police in London, Ont., arrest eight girls in bullying probe Add to ...

Eight girls are facing charges in a bullying case at a high school in London, police in the southwestern Ontario city said.

The arrests were made as part of an investigation that revealed a student at the school had been the target of physical, emotional and cyber bullying, police said.

The eight suspects are each charged with criminal harassment and have been released from custody on a promise to appear in court.

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Police could not say Friday when the hearing would take place.

They said information about the alleged bullying came from direct statements and through an anonymous reporting portal on the school website.

Police said officials have been able to support the victim, ensure the student was safe and then address the bullying behaviour.

The investigation is continuing and police said additional charges may be laid.

The arrests came as several schools and groups prepared to pay tribute Friday to bullying victims, including a British Columbia teen who committed suicide after enduring years of Internet sexual exploitation and torment by her peers.

Amanda Todd, who was from Port Coquitlam, B.C., took her own life last week, the latest in a series of high-profile bullying incidents that have come to tragic conclusions.

Her story — laid out in a YouTube video posted online a month before her death — captured worldwide attention and revived debate over how to prevent bullying and deal with those who commit the abuse.

On Monday, a New Democrat MP introduced a motion calling for the creation of a House of Commons committee to develop a national bullying prevention strategy that would examine the prevalence and impact of bullying and look for ways to prevent it.

Several provinces have also taken steps to tackle the issue.

Ontario passed anti-bullying legislation in June, a few months after a 13-year-old boy was acquitted of robbing and assaulting 11-year-old Mitchell Wilson in a bullying case that garnered widespread attention.

Wilson, who suffered from muscular dystrophy, killed himself last September.

The legislation was introduced in the wake of another high-profile case, the death last year of 15-year-old Jamie Hubley, a boy who was targeted as an openly gay student at his Ottawa school.

Recent federal studies indicate that one in five children or youth have reported being victimized by bullies.

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