Several students suspended after alleged assault at Cape Breton high school
HALIFAX -- School officials in Cape Breton say the school community is “shaken” after disturbing video of a violent incident at a high school was circulated on social media.
The video, which appears to show a young student being attacked by another student at Riverview High School in Coxheath, N.S., has sparked a police investigation.
CTV News has chosen not to show the video in full because of its graphic and violent nature.
"I was upset by it," said Heather Peters, whose daughter is a Grade 12 student at the school. "It was disturbing."
According to students, the incident happened in a gym locker room Wednesday during school hours. School officials are calling it "unacceptable."
Principal Joe Chisholm says the victim has been released from hospital and is doing better at home. He says many at the school are upset.
"We're doing what we can," Chisholm said. "We're investigating to determine who did what and we are working ourselves through that, so we've suspended a few students already in regards to this."
This incident has left many rattled -- including Nova Scotia's education minster.
"I couldn't get through that video," said Zach Churchill. "It's was deeply upsetting."
Churchill said he can't speak to the specifics of the case, but says there are regulations available for school administrators to handle cases like this.
"Generally speaking, when something is egregious the principal can give a maximum 10-day suspension and further punitive action can be taken once the investigation is completed," Churchill said.
Chisholm said a few students have also reached out to guidance counsellors at the school and some have also approached police.
The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional Centre for Education (CB-VRCE) also released a statement Thursday.
“We do not condone this type of behavior in our schools. It has shaken our entire school community,” said a spokesperson in the statement emailed to CTV News.
“Adding to this, it was videotaped by others who shared the video on social media.”
CB-VRCE said the school administration will be conducting its own investigation.
“Based on the seriousness of the behaviour, the school will be taking appropriate actions according to the School Code of Conduct," the statement reads.
“We will be cooperating fully with the Cape Breton Regional Police.”
Some parents and community members have sent letters to the victim and are hoping others will do the same.
"I think as a community we feel helpless," Peters said. "This gives us somewhere positive to channel that energy."
Police said Thursday they wouldn't comment publicly during an active investigation, but said they would once the investigation is completed.
The administration at Riverview is also conducting its own investigation and Chisholm says his other focus is trying to get things back to normal for the students.