Parents of Rehtaeh Parsons trying to speak at Halifax schools
Published Wednesday, January 13, 2016 7:57PM AST
The parents of Rehtaeh Parsons say they have not been allowed to speak at schools within the Halifax Regional School Board despite repeated invitations.
“I've spoke to thousands and thousands of kids,” said Leah Parsons, Rehtaeh’s mother. "When I'm flying home, I always feel like I've reached a lot of people and then I feel sadness because here in Nova Scotia, the kids need to hear the same message"
Leah Parsons and Glen Canning have been fierce in their fight for justice and their efforts to ensure no other child shares their daughter’s experience.
Parsons says many students and parents have asked her to speak at their schools.
“I say, ‘Yeah, sure, go ahead, arrange it and let me know,’ and then they usually come back and say, ‘Yeah, I'm not allowed,” she said.
Parsons says the reason has never been clear.
“It seems to be coming from the school board itself, not the individual teachers and principals,” said Parsons. “It seems to be coming from above that and I've heard that numerous times.”
Parsons feels the school board isn’t comfortable with Rehtaeh’s name.
“They don't feel comfortable, perhaps, with their responsibility,” she said
Halifax Regional School Board chair Melinda Daye says the board isn’t aware of any issue that would prevent Rehtaeh Parsons’ parents from speaking in Halifax-area schools. Daye also says she’s disappointed and will be looking into the issue further.
In Winnipeg, the police service organized 300 youth from 30 schools and invited Leah Parsons to be the keynote speaker.
“She was absolutely fantastic and should speak in every school,” said Sgt. Shaunna Neufeld. “She has such a meaningful message to share."
Canning says he's spoken at 30 schools in Ontario and one in Bridgewater, but none within the Halifax Regional School Board.
Parsons feels it crucial for the message to be spread.
“If we don't get into the schools and talk about real life experiences of this happening to children, then I don't think the youth really get the message unless they hear it first-hand.”
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kayla Hounsell.