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Parents sound the alarm about alleged bullying and arranged fist fights at Lindsay school

KAWARTHA LAKES-The video is horrifying. Two young boys embroiled in a knock down, drag out fist fight while a number of other students watch and jeer.

But this isn’t two boys who are mad at each other. This was a forced fight according to parent Jon Perrin.

Perrin’s son is in grade seven at Central Senior School in Lindsay and he says a “gang” of boys at the school is bulling students into arranged fist fights.

“There’s this group of bullies at Central are going around fighting each other and filming it or they are pressuring kids into fighting and filming it.” Perrin told Kawartha 411.  The fights were then posted on a private instagram account.

In the videos, which were provided to Kawartha 411 News you can hear kids cheering and swearing. Some yelling “get him”, work his ass and fat fu**.

Perrin says last Friday his son gave in to the peer pressure and was involved on one of the fights.

“He’s at school and one of his friends said he wanted to fight my son. My son was this boys friend and thought it was a joke and it wasn’t serious.” states Perrin. “They ended up at the skate park and this kid brings the two grade 8 bullies with him, they are calling my son names, calling him a pussy, saying you need to fight, we came all the way here to watch you fight.”

The fight was also video taped.  You can hear the alleged bullies taunting the boys. “The comments and the narrative are just disgusting.” Perrin states.

Perrin says after the fight one of the other boys pushed his son and he hit his head on a tree.  He wasn’t physically hurt but things could have been much worse.

“I feel strongly about this because I don’t want to see what happened in Hamilton happen here. I posted the video not only to protect my son but I don’t want anyone else to get hurt. It’s going to happen mark my words,no one is taking it seriously and its a serious thing.”

Recently a 14-year old boy was stabbed to death in front of his Hamilton school.

Devan Bracci-Selvey had allegedly been bullied constantly since the beginning of the school year. Officials at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School were accused of being in denial of it’s problem with bullying.

Perrin posted the video to his Facebook page over the weekend. Since then he said he’s heard from a number of other parents whose children have also allegedly been bullied by the same group of kids. The video has since been removed by facebook.

Bob Hoskins (name changed for the safety of his son)says his son was bullied relentlessly by the same group last year and it’s continued this year. “Some of the kids that were involved in this last year even had knives.” Hoskins says. “One kid got suspended, one possibly expelled, but it continues.”

Hoskins says it all started when his son stuck up for another kid. “Next thing he knew there was 15 or 20 of them trying to get him into a fight club.” Hoskins says his son called him and he rushed to the scene where the group surrounded him and tried to fight him as well. He talked to the principal and police.

“The police said they are minors and there’s not a lot we can do about it.” Hoskins recalls. The boys received in-shool suspensions but the bullying allegedly continued.

“Pretty much daily the same three kids are after my son and his buddy.”

“I think they need to start suspending and expelling these kids. If I did that to anyone as an adult I’d be in jail. There would be some kind of consequence instead of just giving them a slap on the wrist.” Hoskins explains.

Perrin says he showed the videos to a friend who is a police officer and she went to the school and spoke to the students but the bullying continued. He tried to talk to the mother of one of the alleged ring leaders but to no avail. The school was contacted but the problem was not resolved.

As last resort Perrin posted the video to social media.

“It’s not right. I’m trying to stop it. It needed to be shown whats going on. Whatever the school is doing it’s not enough.”

To be fair none of the fights we’ve seen took place on school property. However the parents say they are initiated at the school and moved to a park or parking lot nearby.

Perrin says he’s not letting his son off the hook for the incident either. He deleted all of his son’s social media accounts and his son apologized to the other boy.

“I am holding my child responsible for this, he didn’t have to fight he could have walked away, but there’s so much pressure to impress the grade 8’s and this possy or gang that these kids are feeling like they have to.”

According to Perrin the kids are all scared to tell anyone about what is happening and are terrified they will be next.

“The only way you will ever beat a bully is to stand up to him. I don’t want to see anybody get hurt. This is not an ordinary thing. They’ve got a gang of  kids that are doing this to everybody its not just two kids that don’t get along. It needs to be addressed right away.”

On Tuesday we asked the school board for more information. They confirmed the principal is aware of the situation and working with police but we are still waiting for answers to our other questions.

Kawartha Lakes Police told Kawartha 411 they are aware of the issue.

“The City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service is aware that recent incidents of bullying have been filmed and posted on social media sites by young people who attend our local schools in Lindsay.  Unfortunately, examples of people of all ages acting inappropriately or even breaking the law, and posting their actions on social media have been growing ever more common as more and more people carry devices with the capability to record video, such as cellular telephones.” Detective Sgt. Dave Murtha says. “While the City of Kawartha Lakes Police cannot discuss current incidents, which are under investigation by our police service, we can share more information about how the police service responds to bullying taking place at schools in the community.”

KLPS has a Community Service Officer who is assigned to full time duties in our local schools.  Discussion around bullying is a part of the formal curriculum of the “BRAVO” program in grade six, (Building Respect, Attitudes and Values with Others).  During this formal instruction our Community Service Officer, (CSO) discusses such topics as bullying, cyber bullying and the consequences of such actions with regards to the law according to Murhta. “Outside of this formal instruction, our CSO visits local schools in Lindsay on a daily basis, walking the school yard and hallways to speak with kids, to be available for teachers and also parents.  In some instances, our CSO will liaise between students, the school and parents to address reports of bullying.  However, if incidents of bullying are escalating to physical violence then an appropriate next step may be for a criminal investigation to take place, which could result in criminal charges for the young people involved.”

Murtha went on to explain:

“Our CSO works very hard to address all forms of bullying, but the responsibility to ensure the safety of our children is also shared by parents.  Allowing children to have free access to the many social media platforms available can be a significant, contributing factor to bullying that takes place.  If a young person subscribes to any form of social media that includes posts of videos, photographs or discussions about bullying, teasing or a fight between students, they are just empowering the bullies by giving them an audience.  Parents must monitor their children’s use of social media to know who they “follow” and who “follows” them back.  Parents need to be aware of the videos their children are watching and “liking.”  The power and influence that social media has over our children, and the actions of their peers is significant.  Talk to your kids about their online activity and ensure they are not indirectly contributing to the problem of bullying by creating an audience and platform for the bullies.”

Please note we are choosing not to show the video because of the age of those involved.

Parents should remember that if their child, or another young person they know is being bullied or harassed in or outside of school, they should telephone the City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service at 705-324-5252 and request to speak with an officer.

 

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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