Bullying an issue at Truro high school, says principal

Student has tried to deal with the situation, but without success

Published on January 26, 2012
A Truro teenager is feeling scared, frustrated and angry that he is being bullied on a regular basis. Sometimes the Cobequid Educational Centre student is fearful to go to school because of the ongoing situation.

TRURO - When John decides to go to school, he does so with a heavy heart and fearful of the torment that he is sure to face.

"Sometimes I fake sick to stay home so I don't have to deal with the bullies," John told the Truro Daily News.

While some days are manageable, others are hell for the 17-year-old Cobequid Educational Centre student.

He said he has been gang bullied by up to five or six people, had a knife pulled on him, been hit with a metal pole on his back, stabbed with a screwdriver, had rocks thrown at him, been called names and had school projects destroyed.

"It's pretty scary," said John, a Grade 11 student. "When one starts five or six start. It's supposed to be a safe environment and it makes me really mad ... but I try not to show emotions at school. Sometimes I break down at home; I'll cry, shake and get angry."

John said he is getting frustrated with the ongoing issue, which has plagued him since junior high school. He said he has tried numerous things to deal with the situation, not all of them ideal, but nothing seems to work.

"I've switched classes, sometimes I walk out of class because it's so stressful," he said. "Sometimes I tell people off, sometimes I fight. I've told teachers but the support is not there; they stick up for bullies. They tell me I could be suspended for (cursing) at the bullies."

And when those measures don't work, John has either sought refuge in a stairwell to avoid his tormentors or hangs out with "tough" friends because he feels safer with them and "they stick up for me."

The teenager feels there is only one resolution that would work.

"I would like to see bullies taken out of school and keep them away from other people."

John's dad told the Truro Daily News he is "frustrated" with what his son has to endure.

"What can we do besides get a lawyer? I'm worried more than anything (because of) the stories he has told me," John's dad said. "I'd like to see more authority figures in the school ... and not back down."

CEC's principal, Bill Kaulbach, told the Truro Daily News it's "unfortunate" to hear of situations such as John's. He said the school takes bullying seriously and works hard to deal with it.

"There is no question there is bullying at CEC ... but it's more than a school issue. We're doing a good job. Could we do better? Absolutely. We can't tackle it alone; parents need to get involved too," said Kaulbach. "My staff takes bullying seriously and does everything it can to support the victim. People have to talk to us."

Kaulbach said there are many ways the school deals with bullying, including blocking Facebook, involving school administration and the school resource officer, practicing anonymity with complaints, recommending services outside of school and encouraging conflict resolution.

* John is not the teenager's real name.

mchiasson@trurodaily.com