Community rallies to support bullied Glace Bay teen
A bullied Glace Bay teen with cerebral palsy was joined today by classmates and community members to take a stand against bullying.
Brett Corbett says he was verbally taunted and embarrassed after a video posted online showed him lying face down in a brook while others used him as a bridge.
The family now says they've received apologies from those involved.
Tuesday, than 50 people gathered outside Glace Bay High School to show their support for the 14-year-old Corbett.
Ryan Rozicki organized the event after seeing a video of the incident on social media.
“I can kind of relate a bit,” Rozicki said. “So, I wanted to reach out and see if we can make him feel like he's not alone.”
Last week, Corbett, who has cerebral palsy, says he was forced to lie face down in a cold brook while others used him as bridge to get across.
Since the incident, Corbett says he's been receiving threats online because some people think he's looking for attention.
“I haven't been able to go on Xbox because I've been getting hate,” Corbett said. “It's one of my favourite things to do and I can't even go on.”
Corbett's mother Terri McEachern says three of the teens involved have since apologized.
“I had them at my house, the two girls,” McEachern said. “He did forgive them. At the end of the day that's what matters. We don't have any hate towards them, no.”
McEachern says her son has been bullied since elementary school. She's hoping Tuesday's rally will make others think twice before targeting someone like her son.
“This is an amazing outcome and his message is getting out there,” McEachern said. “He wants bullying to stop in general. Not just him. Stand up next time you see somebody there. Don't just stand there and mock. Next time you see a kid in that position, be that child that reaches out. Not that child that videotapes.”
Meanwhile, the Cape Breton Victoria Regional Centre for Education says it is taking a restorative approach involving students, staff, and parents.
On Tuesday, the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional Centre for Education released a statement promising action.
"This incident is tremendously harmful to both the individual involved and the school community as a whole. We are disappointed and saddened by the behaviour that led to the incident on the video."
The statement said that in addition to dealing with the individuals involved, the school would conduct a restorative practice process.
"A restorative practice approach involves students, staff, parents, School Advisory Council and members of the school community, in a process that acknowledges the harm done and gives a voice to all in planning our way forward within a respectful, safe and secure learning environment."
However, McEachern said school officials hadn't yet contacted her, and she'll be looking for reassurance that her son will be safe in school.
"An apology and a one day suspension doesn't change tomorrow how Brett feels about what happened," she said.
McEachern said she will keep her son at home until Monday to see what develops.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore and The Canadian Press.