Toronto, Ontario – June 29, 2021
Rogerson Law Group is advising Dr. Muna Alkhaifi, mother to 8-year old AlMuatsem Al Mazroui, in a bullying lawsuit against Cornerstone Montessori, a Toronto-based private school, for the mistreatment of her son from October 2020 to March 2021. Dr. Alkhaifi alleges the bullying behaviour toward her son went unreproached for six months despite her repeated requests for the school to intervene. Although AlMuatsem had been attending Cornerstone Montessori since November 2016 without incident, Dr. Alkhaifi maintains that the severity of the bullying and the inaction by school administration, forced her to relocate the boy to a new school in pursuit of a safer environment for his physical and mental health.
The Alkhaifi family alleges that the third-grader experienced traumatic bullying during his time at the school, and was subject to unfair treatment, dishonesty, and discriminatory behaviour. Dr. Alkhaifi contends that the school failed to provide a safe environment for her son by allowing these unacceptable actions to go unchecked. For AlMuatsem’s physical and mental trauma, Dr. Alkhaifi consulted a family doctor and ultimately sought psychological treatment from a child therapist.
“AlMuatsem is a very bright, sensitive and polite little boy who was always happy and socializing with the class,” said Dr. Alkhaifi. “But after months of bullying and unfair treatment at Cornerstone Montessori, his quality of life, and his mental and physical health, rapidly declined.”
Dr. Alkhaifi points to the school’s administrators, namely Dr. Stephanie Ling Cheung, Principal, and Ms. Karina Dearborn, Interim Vice Principal, for allowing the bullying and mistreatment of her son to continue. Dr. Alkhaifi alleges that the administrators, as well as AlMuatsem’s teacher, only met with the family reluctantly, and made shallow commitments to improve the class environment – instead choosing to protect the school’s reputation rather than their students. Ms. Dearborn, who oversees the school while Dr. Cheung is on sabbatical, has no formal teacher training or instruction on navigating incidents of bullying.
With the school administration turning a blind-eye, Dr. Alkhaifi sought, but failed to receive, support from sources including the Ontario Ministry of Education, the Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators, the Ontario College of Teachers, and the Canadian Association of Independent Schools. Since Cornerstone Montessori Prep School is private and not a member of any of these educational associations, Dr. Alkhaifi was forced to seek out independent legal counsel.
Dr. Alkhaifi is being advised by Andrew Rogerson, founder of Rogerson Law Group (RLG), who runs an active Victims of Private School Bullying practice designed to bring awareness to the destructive effects of bullying at private and independent schools in the province. Mr. Rogerson is also currently representing two victims of bullying at the prestigious all-girls private school, Havergal College, located in Toronto, Ontario.
For more information about the Victims of Private School Bullying practice, visit Rogerson Law Group’s Bullying & Litigation webpage.