Group rallies to support bullied Glace Bay teen

About 50 students and adults gathered outside Glace Bay High School on Tuesday in support of a bullied teen.

A video of students taunting Grade 9 student Brett Corbett and using him as a stepping stone shocked the community last week.

Organizers said the rally was intended to send a message to Corbett and other students being bullied that they are not alone.

Sydney boxer Ryan Rozicki also made an appearance. He said he could relate to Corbett after hearing about the bullying.

"I was a victim myself and it definitely changed my life and I ended up making the most of it," Rozicki said. "It's just not right."

Organizer Dionne Dermody also said Corbett's story touched her deeply, especially because she has first-hand experience dealing with people who have intellectual and physical challenges.

"Brett suffers from cerebral palsy and my mother has worked at L'Arche Cape Breton for 11 years now, and I have some experience working there," she said.

"We also work with people who have cerebral palsy and to see Brett hurt like that really pulled at my heart."

Surprised and grateful

Corbett and his mother, Terri McEachern, said they were surprised and grateful for the support.

Corbett said he has accepted apologies from several students, but he just wants all bullying to stop.

"When I return to school it better change," he said. "Not a lot of kids getting bullied and if they do. I want people to stick up for them."

Corbett still being bullied

McEachern said despite the apologies, her son is still being bullied online.

She said she keeps him away from social media, but he can't even play games on his Xbox.

"He's not on it because they're saying, 'You did this for attention. You wanted this out there. You wanted this public attention.' They're still ridiculing him and he doesn't want to go on there."

Tom Ayers/CBC

McEachern said the students involved in the initial bullying incident were only given light punishment and school officials are not doing enough to support her son.

"The school doesn't seem to be doing anything, and just, 'Don't be doing that again,'" she said. "This is what they do, it was a tap on the hand, don't do it again."

McEachern said she intends to launch a formal complaint.

Glace Bay principal Donald Holland did not return phone calls from the CBC.

School leading 'restorative process'

Cape Breton-Victoria Regional Education Centre has issued two statements on the bullying incident, and spokeswoman Michelle MacLeod declined any further comment.

She wouldn't say whether any students have been disciplined, and wouldn't say whether Corbett or his mother had been contacted.

In the second statement, issued Tuesday afternoon, education officials said school staff are "leading a restorative practice process" that will include students, staff, parents and members of the community.

The process will acknowledge the harm done and help plan "a respectful, safe and secure learning environment."