KAWARTHA LAKES-Kelly Williams is once again begging officials to do more to protect her children while they are at school. (name changed to protect children’s identity)
Williams says her 13 year old daughter was assaulted on Monday at Ridgewood Public School in Coboconk, by a boy with a long history of disturbing incidents.
“Yesterday morning in the hallway, my daughter went to the fountain to get a drink. He just walked up to her and hit her in the chest. She lost her breath and stumbled back. He laughed. She had a hand mark on her right breast.” Williams told Kawartha 411 News.
Williams found out about the incident from her son who said his sister was afraid to report it. “She didn’t want to because she didn’t want the repercussions of “ratting on him”
Williams said her daughter later had a panic attack with chest pain and difficulty breathing. She had to be taken to the hospital and was diagnosed with bruising to her chest/breast and given pain medication.
She has heard the boy was suspended. The school board would not confirm that citing privacy reasons.
“The safety of all our students is always first and foremost for our school staff. We do have bullying preventative strategies for all TLDSB schools. In fact our Bullying Prevention and Intervention procedure
has recently been updated.” Catherine Shedden, District Manager Corporate Communications for Trillium Lakelands District School Board told Kawartha 411 News. “We encourage parents to work with school administration when they have any concerns about possible bullying taking place at a school. Students or parents can also use the [email protected]
link on the school website to report any potential bullying.”
If a parent feels the need to go further with a concern their next step is to contact the school superintendent according to Shedden.
Most of the updates to the Bullying Prevention and Intervention procedure Shedden is referring to are changes to the wording. For example:
Changing this:”Trillium Lakelands District School Board is committed to the safety and well-being of students, staff and all members of the school community, and will ensure that programs are in place to prevent acts such as bullying or harm from occurring.
To this:”Trillium Lakelands District School Board is committed to the safety and well-being of students, staff and all members of the school community, and will ensure that programs are in place to educate the school community about bullying and to respond to incidents of bullying appropriately. Bullying adversely affects students’ well-being, ability to learn, and healthy relationships.”
They have changed the definition of bullying and cyberbullying as well as the guidelines for expulsion. Previously a maximum of five (5) Trustees designated by the Board would determine recommendations for expulsion.
Now there’s a committee that hears and determines suspension appeals and expulsion proceedings. Per the BD 2009 Committees for Suspension Appeals and Expulsion Hearings Procedure: A quorum will be achieved with three (3) trustees. Click here and go to Page 29 for a full list of the changes: https://tldsb.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/ap_cow_021219-1.pdf
This isn’t the first time the same boy, who is also in grade 8, has hurt or threatened another student according to Williams. This is the same student who allegedly threatened to “shoot up the school” last June. At the time he was reported to have made video threats to the school and other students. Police were called but it’s unclear if charges were laid.
So far this year the same student has alreadly been suspended a handful of times according to Williams.
“They spout off about progressive discipline, but nothing changes. He gets a few days off then comes back to school laughing about it and continuing to bully the kids.” Williams exclaims. “I am strongly requesting expulsion on the grounds that his behaviour is escalating despite their efforts at “progressive discipline”.”
Williams says she intends to press charges and police have been notified.
Police say they are investigating. “When we (OPP) are contacted by anyone in the community, including our school partners, a proper investigation is conducted.” PC Carrie Lanning told Kawartha 411. “It is common that we will collaborate with the Principals and staff at the schools during the investigation to ensure that an appropriate outcome is reached.”
Lanning delivers anti-bullying programs to local school students.
“As the Community Safety Officer (CSO) I offer the OPP KIDS program which is delivered to the grade 6 students and addresses the topic of bullying, including cyberbullying. I also have presentations available for the grade 7 and 8 classes related to relevant topics.”
“I am hopeful if we move forward with pressing charges, the school may actually do something about getting him out of there for the safety of my children and the others that he terrorizes daily.” Williams says.
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