Three different families are sounding the alarm about racist bullying in schools, saying school administrations aren’t properly dealing with racism.
“I always thought that I was Canadian until today,” said Erik Tran at a press conference convened by the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations.
The father says his daughter was the victim of persistent bullying by a group of her classmates.
“They would use hockey sticks to hit her, call her ‘tranzilla,’ get her away from her friends to be sure she’s singled out,” Tran said.
“I felt horrible,” said his daughter. “I didn’t know what I did to deserve this.”
The 16-year-old says after she was pushed over the edge, she made a threatening comment toward her bully. Because of that, she was expelled from Charlemagne, the Pierrefonds private school she’d attended for 12 years.
“When you suddenly just kick her out from school without regards for her feeling, her safety, her adaptation, that’s very racist,” Tran said.
Another woman named Asha says her eight-year-old son was relentlessly bullied and abused because of the colour of his skin.
“They told him that he was black because he doesn’t wash,” she said.
She insists that every time he retaliated, only he would get in trouble and be forced to apologize.
“They treated me like someone who didn’t count. Someone who wasn’t alive,” said the young boy.
Stanley Charles says his 18-year-old son shook hands with a friend in the hallway at their Repentigny school, and they were excused of “an exchange of something.”
His son was brought into a room and searched.
“He asked the adjoint director to stop that because she was touching some part of his body. He asked them to stop it,” Charles said.
He says because his son refused what he calls an invasive search, he was expelled.
The school defended the search, saying it followed school board protocol.
His father has no doubt, this is racism.
“I grew up with it. I know how to manage it now at my age. I don’t want the same thing to be repeated on my kids,” said Charles.
Quebec passed an anti-bullying law a few years ago, but activist Fo Niemi thinks it’s not being adequately implemented.
“Parents here are asking the minister of education to do his job,” Niemi told the press conference.
The minister wasn’t available for an interview, but a spokesperson told Global News it’s up to the school boards and the schools themselves to apply the law. Niemi wants action.
“We want the minister to review how the bullying legislation is being applied in these schools and school boards,” he said.