An anti-bullying rally was held in Glace Bay Tuesday in response to incident where a teen was taunted into laying down in a stream by several students.
The incident, which was caught on video, showed Brett Corbett, who has cerebral palsy, laying in the water while another student used him as a stepping stone. Cape Bretoners are using this incident as a reason to fight bullying, while also showing support for Corbett.
Ryan Rozicki, World Boxing Canadian Cruiserweight Champion, and his girlfriend Dionne Dermody held the second anti-bullying rally Tuesday at the entrance to Glace Bay High School. The Cape Breton native said he was bullied in school and knows how it feels.
“I’ve turned a negative past into a positive and if, at any time, I can be a role model for the youth today, I will jump on that opportunity,” said Rozicki.
Rozicki hopes his rally will encourage youth to be kind, considerate and realize actions can affect someone’s entire life.
“All in all, if it doesn’t put an end to bullying in Cape Breton today it was a step in the right direction,” he said. “If we helped at least one person then we will be happy with that.”
Local musician Dylan MacDonald participated in the rally because he felt it might curb bullying.
“We are here trying to make a difference, whether it is a big difference or a small difference,” said MacDonald. “Unfortunately, I don’t think bullying will be wiped out, but it’s up to us to stand up to it as it happens.”
No difference at school
Danielle Hinchey, a Grade 12 student at GBHS, said not much has been done since the incident with Corbett.
“I didn’t find the atmosphere at the school any different and I’m not sure what the school is doing about it,” she said.
Hinchey and a classmate reached out to students for donations for Corbett after they heard about the video. She said they collected over $200 on Friday, enough to buy Corbett a pair of Nike shoes, $40 Winners gift card, an Xbox game and Xbox gift card.
Michelle MacLeod, spokesperson for the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional Centre for Education, said they’re taking the incident seriously. She said what happened was unacceptable and disappointing.
“The safety of our students is of utmost importance to us and by working together, we will continue to ensure that our students and staff are in a safe and secure learning environment,” said MacLeod in an email.
MacLeod said the incident is still being investigated by the school, the Centre for Education and the Cape Breton Regional Police.
Desiree Vassallo, spokesperson for Cape Breton Regional Police, said they have a school liaison officer at GBHS and they are working with school staff as part of their investigation.