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A video of Canadian high schoolers bullying a classmate with cerebral palsy has caused protests at the school, and an outpouring of support for the teen who was victimized.
Like many victims of bullying, 14-year-old Brett Corbett initially tried to cover up what happened. According to the Washington Post, he initially told his mother he’d gone swimming in the creek behind his Nova Scotia high school on a dare from his classmates. However, some of his classmates recorded videos of the bullying, and the videos quickly spread across Canada. One of the videos made its way across the timeline of a family friend who shared it with Corbett’s mother, Terri McEachern.
The videos showed Corbett standing in the middle of a shallow, muddy creek while over a dozen classmates watch him from on top of a hill. He lies on his stomach in the water, his hands flat-down in the mud. Then a girl jumps from the bank onto Corbett’s back, and then to the other side of the creek, making Corbett into a human bridge.
One of the videos shows the kids laughing at Corbett as he stands up and commanding him to lie back down in the water. One of his classmates yells, “Do it, you fucking bitch!” and he complies. McEachern says only some of the students involved in bullying her son were punished, and they were only suspended for a day.
Since the videos spread across the internet, there has been a significant community response to support Corbett and demand justice. A local boxer organized a “Stand for Brett Corbett” rally outside of the teen’s high school, and last Friday 20 students walked out of class to protest the bullying and the administrative response.
A few of the teens who bullied Corbett have come to him to apologize since the video went viral. At a public meeting on Saturday, a father tearfully read a letter his son had written, which said, in part, “This has turned out to be the worst decision of my life, but first I want to say I’m sorry to Brett and his family.” He called his son’s actions “cowardly” and said the video made him cry his eyes out. Two girls who were involved also came with their parents to Corbett’s home to apologize. Corbett accepted their apology, and their offer to try to be friends.
While some of the teens who bullied Corbett in the videos have apologized, others have not. According to CTV News, these students have excused their own actions by saying that Corbett was not bullied but a willing participant in the joke. McEachern told CTV News that she plans to go to the police, as the school’s response has been unsatisfactory.
H/T Washington Post
Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.