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Parents of teen seen in video of altercation in Fredericton calling for better education, kindness

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The parents of one of the teens seen in a video that’s been widely circulated in Fredericton and beyond are calling for change.

Eli and Michal Tsurkan say their daughter – Shaked – has not been the same since.

The video appears to show two teens walking in a parking lot, when another comes from behind and pulls one of them onto the ground.

A physical altercation begins, while others stand by, watch and record on their phones.

It happened April 30 during the lunch hour among two students who attend Leo Hayes High School. It did not happen on school grounds, and none of the bystanders were teachers or staff at the school, according to the Anglophone West School District. Police say their major crimes unit is actively investigating.

CTV News has not been able to reach the other student involved. Education Minister Bill Hogan confirmed that student was suspended from school, but has since returned.

The Tsurkan’s moved to Canada from Israel 18 months ago – and believe their background is what sparked the altercation.

“It was not just a simple fight, like people tried to convince us. I truly believe that this has some national background, like nationality background, because my daughter is Jewish,” said Eli Tsurkan.

But he doesn’t necessarily blame the other teen, rather he believes more education is needed.

“She's a child, basically. I feel sorry for her, too,” he said. “She is responsible for what she did. But I think the school must take it really seriously to do a job that they must do to educate people for.”

He is concerned for their daughter’s ongoing safety at the school.

The couple did have a short, private meeting with Premier Blaine Higgs at the New Brunswick legislature Friday morning.

Education Minister Bill Hogan says the school has done everything right to this point.

“It's a horrible thing that happened. The fact that there were children videotaping that there were adults watching that did nothing is shameful. However, they all have to come back and live in the same school. So that's where the work needs to happen,” he said.

The Tsurkan’s are hoping for that work to happen at the school – and outside of it.

“Just be good. Be yourself. Let other people be themselves. Help each other,” he said. “I think that respect would be the word I was looking for. To respect each other.”

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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