Video of Glace Bay teen being bulllied sparks outrage in community and online
Brett Corbett was surrounded by dozens of his classmates, but he says he has never felt more alone.
A video that shows what many describe as an extreme act of bullying against a boy has sparked outrage in Glace Bay and online.
A teenaged boy who was forced by his peers to lie down in a cold brook outside of his school and act as a “human bridge” spoke out Friday.
Corbett, 14, has cerebral palsy and earlier this week says he was forced to lay face down in a cold brook near Glace Bay High so others could cross by stepping on his back.
All of it was videotaped by bystanders.
“At first, it started off as a dare, as a joke, and I thought it’d be funny,” Corbett says. “But then, someone threatened to push me in.”
In one version of the video, taken from another angle, you can hear the taunts.
“Get on your (expletive) gut!” shouts one classmate.
Corbett says at this moment he felt humiliated and helpless.
“It was like, well, they really just wanted reaction and to have a great laugh about this while I'm in the water,” Corbett said.
The video has gone viral and for Brett’s mother, it’s extremely difficult to watch.
“It just tore my heart to see my child just lying there and another human using him as a bridge,” said Terri McEachern.“It just ... it just hurt as a parent.”
In an emailed statement, the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional Centre for Education told CTV News: “We are taking the incident that happened at Glace Bay High seriously. The behavior of the students involved is not one that the Centre for Education is proud of. Both the school and administration are presently investigating the incident. It is the intent of administration to sit down with the family to discuss the incident further.”
Via Facebook Messenger, a man told CTV News he was the father of one of the boys in the video.
He says this was a “very bad lapse in judgement” by his son, who he says will deal with the consequences and do what is necessary to make things right.
The father also says he has reached out to Brett's family to apologize.
Friday, a large group of students came back to the brook with Brett to support him.
“We just want Brett to know that he’s not alone and he has a whole army of people behind him,” said Brianna MacDonald.
Said Kenna Mackinnon: “It broke my heart that we go to school with people like that.”
Friday, there was another gesture of kindness from students at the school.
“We overheard people saying that he was raising money to buy a game,” said Danielle Hinchey.“So we decided that we would pool our money together and buy the game for him.”
Corbett says some people have apologized, but he's heard others suggest he was a willing participant.
“Everybody thinks it was a joke,” Corbett says. “If it was a joke, I would have had a pair of swimming trunks on and had a laugh about it. But it wasn't a joke."
After an incident that has sparked outrage, Brett's family vows to take a stand. They say that if they aren't satisfied with how this is dealt with by the school and school board, they will be going to police.
Meanwhile, an anti-bullying rally is being planned for next week in Glace Bay in response to this incident.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.