Application for Anonymization

Mother A obo Child B v. School District C, 2015 BCHRT 64

The child and the mother’s names were anonymized. The mother fought for the identity of the school district to be revealed and she won.

From the case:

[21]           Rule 5(7) establishes a presumption respecting minors for good reason. Children are vulnerable, in some cases fragile, and those with disabilities even more so. It is difficult enough growing up in the face of existing peer pressure without having the additional burden of adult-driven issues being superimposed in a public way in their formative years. Moreover, these issues may not be readily understood by other children and used as a tool of ridicule and hurt. While some public exposure is inevitable, broad public exposure through unrestricted publication is neither necessary nor in the child’s best interests. At this stage of the proceedings, I find that the privacy interests of Child B outweigh the interests of the public and Child B’s identity and that of Mother A shall be anonymized.

[27]           I note that Mother A alleges that the complaint and future outcome are specific to the policies and practices of this particular district. Further, she says that understanding which district is involved may be important for the public, or future complainants in School District C or other districts. I find that school districts are large public institutions that touch a broad spectrum of the public. The reasons advanced by Mother A for identifying School District C reflect a legitimacy and the sentiment found in para. 11 of the School District 61 case cited above. In the circumstances as they currently stand, I find that there is nothing that outweighs the public’s interest in knowing the identity of School District C and the open court principle.

[28]           Therefore, I am prepared to grant School District C the requested anonymization for the purposes of only this decision. Unless a further order of the Tribunal is obtained, School District C shall be identified in all subsequent proceedings. If the Respondent School District C finds unique circumstances that weigh in favour of its anonymization, it may reapply for such an order.