‘Something horrific’: Bullying in Pembina Trails Division School escalates into violence

WINNIPEG –

Parents in the Pembina Trails School Division are speaking out after their son was the target of bullying at his elementary school, which eventually turned violent leaving the 11-year-old with a missing tooth.

Stephanie Davis and Silvio Fava’s said early in the school year, their son Caleb was being bullied by another student in his class because his complexion is different than his mothers, and that bullying escalated into a physical altercation.

“It was the same child who had made fun of his skin,” said Davis.

“The child had him by the back of the hood and was kind of dragging him by the back of the sweater.”

Davis said she and her husband Fava reached out to Henry G. Izatt School and the Pembina Trails School Division to express concerns that the bullying was escalating.

They said very little was done to remedy the situation, and don’t feel the issue was taken seriously.

Two weeks later Davis got a phone call from the school letting her know Caleb had been bullied once again by the same boy.

“The receptionist at the school said that I should get down to the school to pick up Caleb because he was bleeding quite badly, he would probably need a dentist, and his tooth had been knocked out on the playground.”

In an email to CTV News, Pembina Trails School Division said it doesn’t comment on matters related to individual students.

In the division’s Standard of Behavior document, it says:

“All students should experience freedom from harassment, intimidation (e.g. labelling, name-calling, ridicule, taunting, criticism or contempt) and threat of physical harm from adults or peers.”

Davis doesn’t believe those standards were upheld, and they chose to remove Caleb from the school.

They said the whole ordeal has been tough on the 11-year-old. But someone heard about Caleb’s challenges and decided to reach out in a personal video, Winnipeg Jet Josh Morrissey.

He told Caleb to hang in there, remain positive and even gave him an early Christmas present, a gesture that picked up the spirits of the whole family.

“He reached out, he gave us tickets to the Tuesday game, it was just really nice of him, it meant a lot to Caleb,” said a teary-eyed Davis.

Davis and Fava don’t fault the boy who’s been bullying Caleb, they believe there are deeper issues at play.

“The other child obviously needs help too, because he’s going through something as well (normally) children don’t lash out in such an angry anxiety ridden way.”

Caleb is in the process of changing schools, but Davis believes the physical fight could have been avoided.

“This started out with a smaller issue and it only progressed and snowballed into something horrific.”

Fava agrees.

“It could have been resolved at the beginning, it didn’t have to escalate to what it is now,” said Fava.

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