A father of three dissatisfied with the school district’s response to a violent incident involving his son and four other students plans to warn other parents of possible school safety issues by posting flyers around town.
Chase resident Lance Currie said Haldane Elementary school isn’t doing enough to keep kids safe or involve parents in bullying incidents involving their children.
Kamloops-Thompson assistant superintendent Karl de Bruijn said proactive plans exist to enforce proper behaviour, and school administration can’t prevent every skirmish. When altercations do occur, processes are also in place to take appropriate action.
Currie expressed frustration over the seemingly mild approach to physical altercations in school.
“I just feel the school’s not tough enough to support these kids that are getting bullied all the time. I think they should be suspending kids. It’s assault. If I as an adult punch someone, that’s assault.”
Currie’s concerns stem from his son’s claim he was beaten up on school grounds Wednesday afternoon by four boys who pushed him down and punched him in the face, resulting in a bruised chin. That, combined his children’s story about a boy being suspended for sexually touching girls, has him worried.
“Since all this is going down all at the same time, I’m wondering what kind of supervision is at that school and how things are being dealt with,” he said.
Currie said the flyers would direct pointed questions to parents.
“(The flyer will say) that they should think twice about how the school is run and ask themselves if the school is safe. That there’s been some situations in the school and the parents should have the knowledge of what’s going on.”
He said his attempts at getting answers about his son’s incident and disciplinary measures once an investigation is complete were rebuffed.
“I was told there is a game plan that states how they deal with the situation but they won’t tell me what the discipline entails or anything. Well, I’m sorry but my son was the one who was assaulted and I want to know what’s going on.”
Parents of children involved in behavioural issues are “absolutely” brought into the process, said de Bruijn. However, an investigation must first take place.
“Mr. Currie said he wants to know exactly what the consequences of the children will be. And I said we haven’t even gotten there yet because we haven’t finished the investigation,” said de Bruijn.
Currie also wonders why the school didn’t alert parents to the situation involving sexual touching.
“I shouldn’t have to ask my daughter on a daily basis ‘Hey were you touched?’ We need to be informed as parents.”
School board chair Denise Harper is the board representative for Haldane. She said she hasn’t heard complaints of this nature from other parents.
Harper said parents will be alerted over matters like “stranger danger,” but disseminating information is taken on a case-by-case basis.
With regards to alerting parents of student incidents, de Bruijn said the school has to respect the privacy of individuals, especially considering the young age of those involved.
“We’re talking about people under 12 here.”