School violence: How to fight for safer schools (Marketplace)

[♪♪]>>His neck bent in a weird way,
so, like, he’s dead. I thought he was dead. Yeah.
Yeah.>>David: You want
to take a second?>>No, no, no, no, I’m good.>>David: Even now, so
close to where it happened, fear is seared into Jaxson
Da Silva-Trudell’s mind.>>Paramedics got there,
right as the police got there, they lifted Jayden off, which
is like the worst part because I didn’t know what was going on,
and then my grandpa got there and he like… Sorry.>>David: The
first days of grade 9. His cousin Jayden
jumped from behind, phones capture it.>>All of a sudden you see
this kid come up and hit him as hard as he could in
the side of the head. He didn’t see him.>>David: Kevin is Jaxson
and Jayden’s grandfather.>>Guy picked him
up over his head, slammed down head
first in the cement. [Screaming]>>Done, he was unconscious. People thought that
he was dead then, on the ground. [Yelling]>>David: Jayden rushed to
hospital in critical condition. What were his injuries?>>A fractured skull,
the back of his head, a brain bleed, and then broken
bone in his ear and hearing loss.>>David: You’re a
former police officer.>>Yeah.>>David: How’d they treat it?>>As a murder scene. It was a murder investigation.>>David: The cops
treated it like a–>>Well you have to because
you gotta understand that no one knew at the time if
Jayden was gonna live or die. [Bleep]>>David: Social media is
showing us more fights. [Screaming and yelling]>>David: Students
are seeing it.>>Everyone was
attacking the one girl for it. They were just going at it. They were saying
she’s like a bitch.>>David: Hearing it too.>>He said move out
of the way black kid.>>David: But do parents
really know what’s going on? Have your kids ever seen
another student getting hurt?>>No. They haven’t seen anything.>>David: Principals, teachers
are supposed to track every violent incident. What happened? Where it happened? Have the police ever been
called to your kid’s school?>>Oh, yes. I see the police at the school
all the time.>>David: What’s the school telling you about why
the police are showing up there?>>They don’t say anything.>>David: If schools
are keeping secrets, our team of CBC journalists
is working to uncover them.>>Maybe you want
to try bullying.>>David: How often is there
violence between students?>>So, violence doesn’t
come up but bullying does.>>David: It may seem
like a simple question, but getting a straight answer
from school boards nationwide is almost impossible.>>Full reports denied.>>David: We know some schools
have to track how often kids are threatened with a
weapon, hate crimes, robbery, extortion, along with
physical and sexual assaults.>>So we’re on our way
to mail 16 more letters. Just another step in
this months long process.>>David: As that battle
continues, we’re in Corner Brook, Newfoundland,
where this mom is speaking up, challenging her daughter’s
school to do the same.>>He was touching
her inappropriately. And sexually
abusing her on the bus.>>David: We’re not
showing her face, to protect her
9 year-old daughter. A much bigger kid who would
get on the bus and he would, your daughter said, touch her. And did he ever for instance
put his hand directly inside her pants?>>Yes, he did. Under her clothes,
under her undergarments. Yes.>>David: When you heard
that what did you think?>>I was numb. Shocked. I just didn’t know how it was
possible that this could even happen on a school bus.>>David: Then, another
little girl comes forward. Could there be more? Hard to know when the
school keeps secrets. How many other parents who had
kids on that bus were told by the board that there were
allegations that something had happened?>>None.
>>David: Zero?>>Zero, yes. What’s the difference between
sending home a public notice for head lice and making a
notification there’s been allegations of a safety
concern on the school bus?>>David: So why do
you think they didn’t?>>They just didn’t
want to deal with it. They, they just wanted to
sweep it under the rug.>>David: Keep it secret?>>Keep it secret, yeah.>>David: But we’re cracking
open some of these secrets, bringing them to these parents. Released for the first time, we
get the Ministry of Education’s numbers of violence for almost
every Ontario school. Would you like to take a
look at your student’s school?>>Sure.>>David: Last year,
two violent incidents. How many did you know about?>>None.>>David: Zero. Would you have wanted to know?
>>Yes.>>David: Why?>>Because I want to
keep my daughter safe. And I want to know if those kids
are in any of her classrooms.>>David: You mind if we take
a look at your kid’s school?>>Sure.>>David: How many do
you think there are?>>Um, well, not
any that I know of.>>David: That’s the last year.>>Wow.
>>David: 28. That means your daughter’s
school has one of the highest number of reported incidents at
a school in the entire province.>>Wow, that’s a lot. Yup.>>David: Do you have
any idea what happened?>>I have no idea what happened.>>David: Neither
does the government. We uncover thousands
of violent incidents. But they’re just numbers. The ministry
doesn’t ask for details. Doesn’t know what
those numbers really mean.>>We need to know what
kind of violence is going on. Is it a sexual nature? Is it against certain groups?>>So, what’s the purpose
of keeping the stats then? Like there’s no information,
there’s no analytical data that you can source out and
figure out what the problem is.>>David: But there is info
and it’s carefully guarded by Ontario’s school boards. And that’s why we’re
pushing 76 of them for answers.>>We’ve got mail.>>All right, let’s see it.>>David: And
they’re pushing back.>>Kawartha Pine Ridge
District school board, $1170 for data.>>David: Some
asking for big fees.>>Ecole
Catholique Sainte Therese, $3120 dollars that is
the highest fee we’ve had.>>David: Others
worry about privacy, even though we’re not
asking for student names.>>We’ve heard back from the
Algoma District School Board.>>David: And this school board
worries about how they’ll look.>>With this information
potentially creating some reputational risks
for school boards.>>I don’t care
about their reputation, what I care about is that
kids go to school and feel safe.>>David: Professor Tracy
Vaillancourt studies violence prevention. Would you say it is critical
to have publicly available information about what violent
incidents are happening inside of our schools?>>If we accept that all schools
have a problem with violence, some more than others then we
don’t need to hide behind these poor excuses of why we
can’t access this information.>>David: And that problem
involves more than 2100 violent incidents, in Ontario alone. In just one year. That’s more than ten a day. Does it seem like a lot?>>Targeted children and their
families are gonna say yes we’ve been screaming this for so
long and nobody’s hearing us, which is why I am so
pleased that you are doing this, this is something that
needs a spotlight on it. But no, these
numbers don’t surprise me.>>David: But we are surprised
when our data reveals 77% of Ontario schools reported
not a single incident. Is that possible? Experts worry some
may be keeping secrets.>>I’m a bit
suspicious of those data.>>David: How do we fix a
problem that we don’t know is out there?>>Exactly. Can you imagine being prescribed
some kind of medication without any evidence for its efficacy? I mean we need these data. You first have to be able to
identify what the problem is and then move forward
with a plan to fix it.>>David: If schools aren’t
accurately reporting the number of violent incidents, should we
be asking students themselves?>>I would always ask
students themselves.>>David: So, we are.>>How many times did
you witness other students experience harm?>>David: If schools are keeping
records secret…>>Pushed, shoved, slapped,
hit, kicked or bitten?>>David: ..we’re turning to
4000 students across Canada.>>The next few questions
are concerned with sexual harassment.>>David: A national survey.>>I’ve never told you this.>>David: To find out what’s
really happening inside schools.>>And I was definitely scared.>>David: Perhaps most
shocking of all in our survey, sexual violence.>>Is there a lot of grabbing
and touching in your school?>>David: Testing schools,
a special edition of your Marketplace.>>What do we want?
>>Consent!>>And when do we want it?
>>Always!>>David: In the era of MeToo,
students are opening up about what they’re facing,
including right here in western Newfoundland. This is Stephenvile’s
first ever slut walk, an opportunity to talk about
sexual assault and consent. These young women want to have
these conversations but they’re not convinced their communities
or school are ready yet.>>I get shamed a lot for
the way I tend to dress.>>David: Coast to coast, we ask
4000 students about violence in schools. From kindergarten to grade 12. What did they see? What happened to them?>>No means no, simple as that.>>David: 1 in 4 girls say they
faced unwanted sexual touching and grabbing at school.>>It’s kind of scary to leave
your house thinking that people will just sexualize you.>>David: And when we
specifically ask about forced sexual acts,
including oral sex or rape, 1 in 7 girls say they were
sexually assaulted by another student. [♪♪]>>He was just a boy that I
knew from school.>>David: Often it first
happens from grade seven to ten, as it did for Brook.>>I was a new grade nine,
getting interest from a grade 12, it felt like
something special.>>David: We’re
protecting her identity. She was just 14
when it happened.>>But things didn’t happen
the way they were supposed too.>>David: It was supposed to
be just a drive in his car. But Brook says the older student
brought her to this parking lot, choked and
sexually assaulted her. She needed help and went to her
school’s guidance counsellor to get it.>>She told me, she didn’t know
what the next steps would be, she wasn’t sure, if should
she get the police involved, if she should
tell the principal, if she should tell my mom.>>David: Did it appear like the
school or the school board knew what to do?>>No, I mean as far I ask knew,
they were just in the dark about what to do as I was. I felt if these adults
didn’t know what was going on, how was I supposed to?>>David: Didn’t
know how to respond, even as two more girls come
forward with allegations against the same boy? It becomes even scarier. Just days later, when the board
allows the boy back into school, without any warning. When you heard he
was back in school, what did you think?>>It was like it
happened all over again, I was scared, I didn’t
want to go to school. I felt sick and most importantly
I felt let down by the school.>>David: That
sentiment is not isolated. In our national survey, 3 in 5
girls say they didn’t report sexual violence to their school. And when we asked
them to explain why.>>Nothing
happens, nothing changes.>>The victim gets blamed and
the person trying to stand up for them gets blamed.>>I was in school during
that time and I don’t think they responded to it with
enough compassion and empathy. It’s almost like there wasn’t
enough done for the victims who were strong enough
to come forward.>>David: Only a quarter of
those who do come forward, say they were fully satisfied
by the school’s reaction.>>It’s like they were annoyed. They didn’t punish the boy
who had touched us girls.>>I had a friend get full
on raped by a classmate and I reported it to the principal
who told me I was lying.>>So, you have the
bravery of coming forward, the bravery of telling a
supposed trusted adult about this heinous act that
occurred and nothing happens. What does that tell you about
when you witness it again or maybe you’re victimized, what
are you gonna do about that? So, there’s this pervasive under
reporting and the reason being is that we’re not doing enough. [♪♪]>>David: Then there’s
the justice system. In both cases, the alleged
attackers were acquitted. The girls still feel their
schools didn’t keep them safe.>>David: Do you think
this could happen again?>>Yes, to be quite honest I’m
not sure what’s going to need to happen in order for them to
implement some kind of security measures to
protect those children.>>I felt like I was the
one who did something wrong.>>David: Who are school
officials protecting when they keep secrets? After months asking the
Newfoundland and Labrador School Board for an interview, and
getting no as a response, we’re trying again in person. Good morning, how are you? I’m well. I’m actually here
with CBC Marketplace, And I’m hoping we could
talk to Mr Stack. We’re looking for the
director of education, but instead…
>>Hey folks.>>David: Manager of
communications Cheryl Gullage comes to see us.>>We provided a statement
to Marketplace and we’re not prepared to do it an
on camera interview.>>David: So, we’re just trying
to get some answers around sexual violence which is
something that you know because we’ve been talking
to you for months. There are have been
these issues with students, young women who’ve come forward,
bravely come forward about sexual violence and they’re
concerned that the school didn’t do enough to protect them.>>We can’t speak to
specific incidents.>>David: And I’m not asking
to speak to specific incidents. I guess if you don’t
want to even get near that, have things changed?>>Since?>>David: Since you have a
sexual assault allegation on a school bus and no other
parents have been told.>>There have, there are
continuous improvements made to our policy systems
and our protocols.>>David: What about the
idea of notifying a student, a victim, an alleged victim
when there have been charges of sexual assault that the alleged
aggressor is returning to school. Would you do that in the future?>>We do ha–>>David: ‘Cause you haven’t
done that in the past.>>There are various
different pieces at play, there’s the
justice system piece, versus the education system piece. Within the last number
of months and years, those are communicating
more with each other than ever before.>>David: What will the school
board do to prevent these types of incidents, to
best protect students?>>When you say these
types of incidents, are you trying to refer to–>>David: Sexual violence.>>Specific incidents, that we
cannot speak to in which case…>>David: Okay.>>..I’m not able to
provide you an answer.>>David: You can’t talk about
the specifics because of privacy and I’m not talking to you about
specifics because of privacy, but what would you do to prevent
those kinds of things from happening again?>>Those types of incidents we
work with the school community, with the administration and with
the families involved to make sure that everybody’s working
in the best interest of our students.>>David: Should students assume
that you’ve got their back?>>Oh always. Always, students should
assume that we have their back.>>David: And have you
always been successful at that?>>I think it has been a
learning process for everybody involved.>>David: We find hundreds
of student complaints of inappropriate touching in
the boards own records, but they won’t talk
about them on camera. There you have it. After months of asking these
questions, we have some answers not all answers, but an acknowledgment that they
haven’t done perfectly in the past, that this has
been a learning curve, and the hope that students, in
the future can be supported by their board. Brook did not feel protected. But is speaking out
now, taking charge, and pushing for change. Many others are too.>>David: This is
your Marketplace.>>One more kick, one more punch
could have killed him instantly.>>David: More than a year after
a brutal attack in the first days of grade 9.>>Let’s go again.>>David: Jayden is recovering. Back to boxing for hours a day. What do you like about boxing? How does it make you feel?>>Everyone here is really nice. We’re like a family here. They always help
me, I help them.>>That’s it, just
like that, keep that.>>David: But
outside the ring… Do you feel as
accepted at school?>>No. School is more like
survival of the fittest. I was more worried about
the kids than my grades.>>David: And
Jayden isn’t alone. In our national survey, 40% of
high school boys report being physically
assaulted at least once. 1 in 5, even
threatened with a weapon.>>If you go to a teacher, you
just get labelled as a snitch and whatever, and that’ll
just make more people hate you. It’s just like
really what can you do?>>David: Still, more
than half of all boys surveyed did come forward. And many didn’t
feel that helped, telling us…>>I was told I needed to
toughen up.>>Just made everything worse.>>The school did not
set up, or follow through with a safety plan. I had to switch schools.>>David: Do you
feel safe at school?>>No. I’d be limited to
certain areas of the school.>>David: Do you
think, the administration, the principals, the
teachers knew that? That’s a bit messed up.>>Probably.>>David: Really?>>Yeah.>>David: And what
did they do about it?>>Nothing. Like the principal always hears
stuff in the halls whatever but never really did
anything about it.>>David: In the days
immediately after Jayden’s attack, his grandfather says no
one from the school called to see how the teen was. Or even if he was alive.>>I never heard
from the school board.>>David: This is when
you were at that hospital. Never?
>>Nobody called or nothing.>>David: Did you
hear from the school?>>No.>>David: And the board
won’t talk to us either, citing student privacy. The school did expel the
boys who attacked Jayden, but that didn’t end the danger. Did you feel like you
could be hurt again at school?>>Yeah.>>David: Really?>>Yeah.>>David: Is there anything
you want principal and teachers, at the school at all
schools to do differently?>>Maybe just to take action. I’ve seen so much
fights, it’s crazy.>>David: Experts say the best
start to deal with a problem is to acknowledge it.>>Transparency is really what’s
needed to move this forward, to get violence reduced.>>David: Should parents know? Do they have a right to know
what’s going on in the schools with regards to
violent incidents?>>Yes, absolutely. When children don’t belong,
when they feel harassed and victimized and bullied,
whatever you wanna call it, they don’t flourish.>>David: And yet, it seems like
many schools are fighting to protect their reputation,
rather than release critical information.>>That disconnect is
going to cause harm.>>David: As for Jayden,
he’s feeling much stronger.>>Like this.>>David: Oh, I see. That’s getting close to my face. You’re scaring me.>>That’s okay, I
won’t hit your face.>>David: Now in
grade 10 at a new school. Nice. You know what
you’re doing, I like it. Thanks. Jayden was great
and really helpful sharing his story with us. Now if you have a story, an experience that
you’re comfortable sharing you can reach out to us. [email protected]
is our email address, and of course
always on social media.

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