Kaila Nunn (right) and her mother Caroline are concerned about Nunn’s daughter Elizabeth being bullied in a local high school. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Kaila Nunn (right) and her mother Caroline are concerned about Nunn’s daughter Elizabeth being bullied in a local high school. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Mom up in arms over bullying at Cowichan school

Kaila Nunn says daughter bullied at Frances Kelsey School

Bullying incidents at Mill Bay’s Frances Kelsey Secondary School have at least one parent concerned.

Kaila Nunn’s daughter, who we will call Elizabeth to preserve her anonymity, has just completed Grade 8 at the school, but it was one of the most difficult academic years she has had since beginning school.

Nunn said the problems began early in the school year when a group of 10 to 15 girls jumped Elizabeth, who has ADHD and autism, outside of school grounds, hit her in the back of the head and knocked her to the ground.

RELATED STORY: MOST CANADIAN KIDS EXPERIENCE RACIALIZED BULLYING AT SCHOOL: STUDY

“The police were called and when they took the kids back to the school, the school said they would deal with it but not a single person that was a part of the ambush on my daughter was held accountable,” Nunn said.

“That was the worst instance of bullying on Elizabeth this year, but she has been pushed and intimidated in the hallways by this same group of students many times since then. My daughter has called me crying many times this school year and I call the school all the time, but nothing serious was ever done to actually deal with the situation. The police have been called at least two or three times this year in regards to just my child. ”

Nunn said she has attempted to reach out to some of the parents of the bullies in the hope that they would step in and help, but they seem oblivious to the issue and she has faced threats and harassment from both parents and the students.

Nunn said one of the vice principals at the school has tried to step in and help, but she suspects she has limited authority other than to call in both the students and their parents and talk to them.

“That approach doesn’t seem to work, and many people are afraid to stand up to their kids,” she said.

“I know there’s been lots of other bullying issues at Frances Kelsey this year, and I’ve talked to parents at other schools and bullying seem to be common in many other schools in the Cowichan Valley as well.”

RELATED STORY: PARENTS, FORMER STUDENTS DESCRIBE ‘CULTURE OF BULLYING’ IN MISSION SCHOOL DISTRICT

Nunn said she has researched different schooling options for Elizabeth, and she has found an online school for neurodivergent students that is based in Vancouver, but Elizabeth isn’t interested in staying at home and doing courses online.

“She needs social interaction and doesn’t want to change schools,” she said.

“Elizabeth has good friends at Frances Kelsey.”

Mike Russell, School District 79’s director of communications, said schools in the Cowichan Valley take care to intentionally create safe environments for all students.

However, he said the district realizes that conflict between students sometime occurs.

“Any time a student lets us know of a conflict, the administration and trained counsellors do a full investigation,” Russell said.

“They gather facts and details and anonymously deal with the student(s) of concern and follow up with parents to ensure plans are put in place to help resolve or mitigate issues.”

Russell said if students relay information that requires the involvement of the RCMP, local schools and the district maintain a close relationship with the police and are able to support the investigative process if needed.

“Regular follow ups and check-ins occur to ensure plans are working and students feel supported,” he said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CommmunitySchools