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Que. mother says her daughter is being bullied at school because she's Black

Amanda Kline, CTV News Montreal, June 13, 2023 7:28 p.m. EDT

A mother from Saint-Hyacinthe alleges her 13-year-old daughter is being bullied in school because she is Black, and that the school and its service centre have not done enough to stop it.
Alexandra Orneus-Pierre told the story on Tuesday at a press conference with the Red Coalition -- an anti-racism lobby group.
"'Mom, I don't belong here anymore,'" she said, recalling something her daughter told her. "I don't want to lose my child."

Orneus-Pierre says the bullying has gotten so bad her girl doesn't want to go to school and has resorted to harming herself.
Alain Babineau from the Red Coalition said he was told there has been name-calling.
"The n-word was used. There were instances of mocking, gestures and constant harassment. She was being followed between classes, after school, on the school bus, and she reported those incidents to the school," Babineau said.
However, Orneus-Pierre said she was not satisfied with the school's response, which is why she went public with her story.
"I'm asking for help, not only for my daughter but for all children who are bullied because it needs to stop," she said.
In a letter sent last week to the Minister of Education, Bernard Drainville and to Christopher Skeete, the minister responsible for the fight against racism, the Red Coalition called on the government to investigate the issue and put measures in place to make sure these kinds of complaints stop.
"To acknowledge the ongoing systemic racism that's going on in our schools, this incident is the most shocking out of all the incidents we've received and complaints," said Joel DeBellefeuille, the group's executive director.
The group is also demanding a meeting with the Saint-Hyacinthe School Service Centre.
"The impact of racism and discrimination seems to be minimized and we want it to be put as serious, as important as any other form of violence or bullying in the school system," said Babineau.
In a statement sent to CTV late Tuesday afternoon, the Saint-Hyacinthe School Service Centre responded to the allegations and said it followed its anti-bullying plan and bullying and anti-violence procedure to address the issue.
"School administrators rigorously applied the usual procedures, interventions and sanctions, in collaboration with the school's multidisciplinary team and the parents," said spokesperson Isabelle Ricard.
Ricard also said though they are aware of the situation, no formal complaint has yet been lodged with the service centre.
"Essentially, it's a conflict between two students that has been brought to the attention of the school administration," she added.

Earlier in the day, the Red Coalition said it's planning on filing a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission.
Orneus-Pierre said she is speaking out so her daughter can feel safe going to school, adding " we are human, skin colour doesn't change anything."



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