WARNING: Some details in this story may be disturbing to readers. Discretion is advised.
Another disturbing video of teen violence has surfaced on social media in Metro Vancouver.
The cell phone footage, shot April 16 outside a Point Grey school, appears to show two youth striking a third youth, as others film and egg on the suspects.
“Get that b—-!” a member of the crowd is heard shouting repeatedly, as the 14-year-old victim attempts to flee.
On Wednesday, Vancouver police confirmed they have obtained the video and are investigating, but no arrests have been made. No one in the crowd who witnessed the alleged assaults called 911, they said.
“I’ve seen the video, it’s very concerning and very troubling,” Sgt. Steve Addison said in an interview, adding that police are in touch with the victim’s family.
“Any more information we give out at this time could potentially revictimize her and we need to be very careful how we talk about it.”
On Tuesday, police warned the public about a recent spree of teen violence that includes swarmings, robberies and reports of physically harmful, humiliating and demeaning rituals. Some of the attacks involved weapons like pepper spray and knives, Addison said.
Global News also reported Tuesday about a disturbing video of a swarming at Hillcrest Elementary in Cloverdale on Saturday night. In that incident, which is under investigation, the victim’s mother told Global News her daughter was severely beaten by multiple assailants and made to kiss their shoes.
The incident was filmed by multiple onlookers who never called police, Surrey RCMP said. The videos were shared on social media.
“We want to ensure every school is a safe place for kids regardless of who they are,” B.C. Public Safety Mike Farnworth said in a Wednesday interview.
“The videos that we’ve seen are absolutely despicable and obviously if additional resources are required, then we want to work with school districts to identify what those needs might be.”
Farnworth said the videos have been posted in some school districts that have police liaisons and some that don’t. The provincial government, he added, will continue to invest in anti-bullying programs in schools, but police, schools, communities and the province must all step up their communication and teamwork to ensure such attacks don’t happen again.
Carol Todd, a well-known educator, parent and anti-bullying advocate in B.C., said the videos give her a “heavy heart.” Todd’s daughter, 15-year-old Amanda, took her life by suicide in response to cyberbullying in 2012.
“‘I remember the day that Amanda was assaulted and the emotions that we went through as a family, that she went through as a person and it brings me back when I hear these stories,” she told Global News.
“It’s really shameful that you have to empower yourself using violence and aggression, in order to gain popularity, to gain approval of others.”
Schools alone are not responsible for teaching children about anti-bullying and anti-violence, Todd added, and must be supported by parents, caregivers and community leaders. Youth may have “tunnel vision,” she said, and fail to understand he potentially lifelong consequences of perpetuating such violence.
“You need to start conversations early about what’s right and what’s wrong, and give practice situations,” she explained.
— With files from Rumina Daya
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