TRURO, N.S. – Local students walked out of classes bearing placards Sept. 21, with some wearing pink shirts to protest bullying in Truro.
The 30 or so students from Cobequid Educational Centre took to the streets less than two weeks after a Grade 12 student was violently assaulted by another at the school, triggering an outcry on social media.
“I’d say we don’t want it anymore and we’re done with it and if you support (us) then go ahead and if you don’t, then you’re part of our problem,” said the victim, as others applauded.
The student said her experience made her want to help others who have been victims of violent crimes such as assault, adding she wanted to study human services at university to this end.
The student and her classmates walked for about an hour through Truro, on a route taking in Prince Street, the Civic Square and Esplanade Street before looping back to CEC. Their action was called the Justice Walk-Out on social media.
“It’s not a protest, it’s just a support walk for (the student) here, who was assaulted last Monday by a girl I will not name. Basically, we don’t tolerate bullying or any aggressive acts for anyone, towards anyone on anyone,” said Grade 12 student Mikayla Watson.
Students at the walkout also called on the province to pass legislation ordering any student convicted of a violent offence – either in or out of school – to undergo a mental health assessment before being allowed back into school. This echoed an earlier demand made by parents on social media soon after the alleged assault occurred.
The alleged attacker was arrested, charged with assault with a weapon and was also given a 10-day suspension from CEC. Parents and students say this is not enough.
“We’re basically showing our support through these signs and just walking peacefully away from the school,” said Watson.