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The lawsuit, filed in B.C. Supreme Court by Uwe Boll and his wife, Natalie, alleges Crofton House School blamed their daughter for behaviour that arose from her being a victim of bullying.

A Vancouver couple is suing a private girls’ school, alleging the administration there failed to protect their 13-year-old daughter from online bullying that led her to suicidal thoughts.

The suit, filed in B.C. Supreme Court by Uwe Boll and his wife, Natalie, alleges Crofton House School blamed their daughter for behaviour that arose from her being a victim of bullying.

The allegations in the 20-page statement of claim have yet to be tested in court, but they allege continuing harassment against their daughter began after she enrolled at Crofton in 2017 when she was 11 years old.

They say the school breached a duty of care it owed to their daughter and is liable for negligent acts and omissions committed by, among others, its administration and teachers. They say they are seeking general and special damages as well as costs, among other relief.

“Crofton House incubated an environment in which homophobia, racism, harassment, bullying and the recruitment of others to bully was commonplace. There was insufficient reprimand or curtailment of any of these activities,” said the statement of claim.

The head of Crofton House said the school rejects the allegations.

“Crofton House School does not agree with the characterization of events as portrayed in the lawsuit and will provide a robust legal defence of the allegations,” Ena Harrop said in a statement.

“We make every effort to create an environment that is free from all forms of discrimination and unacceptable behaviour.”

Crofton, which has students ranging from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12, describes itself on its website as “an extraordinary school with a long and proud history of leadership in all-girls’ education.” Located on a four-hectare campus on the west side of Vancouver, the website says the school offers a “research informed” education approach that “supports the whole girl in her social, emotional, physical and intellectual development.”

The Bolls allege that after their daughter arrived at Crofton, an unidentified student began to make disparaging remarks about their daughter’s race, suggesting she would be much better-looking if she were “full white” and if “your mother had married a white guy.”

The statement of claim alleges the Crofton student repeatedly told their daughter to get plastic surgery to look more white.

In an interview, Mr. Boll said his daughter’s birth father was Vietnamese. She is the child of a previous relationship of his wife, Natalie.

The Bolls allege Crofton did nothing to curtail the “racist disparagements" of their daughter, which they say were regularly occurring on school grounds, and that she was also subject to homophobic rumours and gossip about her sexuality.

Meetings with school officials did nothing to resolve the situation, they allege.

“Rather than sufficiently address the bullying with the perpetrators, Crofton House focused on telling [the Bolls’s daughter] that she was flawed and calling bullying upon herself. As a result, [their daughter] believes that there is something wrong with her.”

Over time, the Bolls allege the harassment, including online attacks and social isolation, affected their daughter’s academic performance, that she developed an eating disorder, expressed suicidal thoughts and suffered an overdose of Xanax after obtaining the drug on campus. She also began cutting herself.

Although the police officer dealing with liaison with the school reached out to the parents by phone to say he was aware of the Xanax incident, the statement of claim alleges the officer says Crofton never disclosed that the overdose occurred on campus.

“The police liaison indicated he did not want to 'stir the pot’ by contacting the Crofton students with respect to the bullying as he believed this could make things worse,” says the statement of claim.

Asked about the claims, the Vancouver Police Department declined comment. “It would be inappropriate for the VPD to comment on anything that is before the courts,” Sergeant Aaron Roed said in a statement.

The Bolls’s daughter is now a student at another Vancouver high school.

Mr. Boll, a prominent filmmaker, and his wife operate a high-end German restaurant, Bauhaus, in Gastown.

Mr. Boll has 33 feature film and documentary film directing credits, beginning in 1992 with the comedy German Fried Movie, and including the 2016 film Rampage: President Down.

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