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Truro high school altercation prompts call for mental health legislation

Cobequid Educational Centre.
Cobequid Educational Centre. - Joey Smith

TRURO, N.S. – A Colchester County mother is calling for new legislation after her daughter was violently assaulted this week at a Truro high school.

“My daughter was assaulted in an unprovoked attack,” said Karen Wade, whose 17-year-old daughter attends Cobequid Educational Centre. “She was just walking down the hallway. The girl took a pair of scissors, cut her hair and punched her in the face over 20 times for no particular reason.”

The offending student, who is also 17, was taken into custody by the Truro police and has been charged with assault with a weapon.

A shaky video posted on social media shows the victim being grabbed by the hair from behind and pummeled numerous times in the face before being slammed to the floor, while the other girl continues to assault her as others rush in to pull her away.

The offending student is heard swearing and making derogatory comments while accusing the victim of having relations with her boyfriend.

Wade said that accusation is not true.

Jennifer Rogers, spokesperson for the Chignecto-Central Regional Centre for Education, said police are involved in the situation and student safety is considered a “top priority.” But she said privacy issues prevented her from commenting further on the issue.

Wade, who added her daughter also suffered a “serious” elbow injury when she hit the floor, said she was told the offending student has been suspended for 10 days. Beyond that, however, she said the school will take no further action against the student “because she deserves to have an education.”

Wade, however, feels that when any student has acted out with such violent behaviour, there should be legislation in place to prevent the individual from returning to school unless they have had a mental assessment that would clear them to do so.

“She continues to say stuff about it on social media and continues to threaten us. And it’s just the kind of thing where there is nothing we can do,” Wade said.

“The school is saying their hands are tied. The parents are saying we can’t get her assessed. I have no idea why. Before that child enters a school system again, she needs to have some kind of an assessment to tell us what is going on with her, so that we can move forward. People have to know that the student body is safe.”

Wade said she has requested a meeting with Colchester North MLA Karen Casey to discuss introducing the type of legislation she feels is required for such situations.

“They are just going to tell her not to do it again and send her back to school,” she said. “I would like to see them enact legislation that would require people – even underage people - who have been charged with serious crimes, be assessed for their mental health. Are they fit for this environment? Because I’m not sure she is.”

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