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Parents raise concerns of violence and bullying at Brampton school

Last Updated Oct 12, 2017 at 9:41 am EST

Tensions were high at the first school council meeting of the year at Agnes Taylor Public School in Brampton, as parents brought up reports of violence and bullying at the elementary school.

The meeting was held as Peel police told CityNews an investigation is underway after there was an altercation between two sets of parents who have children attending the school.

The meeting is usually where parents and school officials discuss fundraisers and classroom activity, but Wednesday’s meeting was attended by security officers and Peel police officers as a precaution.

A number of parents attended the nearly two-hour meeting to raise issue with how the school has been dealing with what they say is escalating violence in the school.

“What happened to zero tolerance for bullying?,” one parent asked school officials. “I thought that was a huge campaign that you were all supporting.”

Nicole Pittman said her seven-year-old daughter has been physically assaulted while on school property. On many occasions, she’s reported to the school that a boy in her classroom continues to bully her.

“My seven-year-old daughter is no longer in school right now, because I haven’t gotten any support or any help in regards to helping this bullying from stopping here,” she said.

Although the Peel District School Board said it has received complaints from parents, board officials said there hasn’t been an escalation of violence at the school.

“I’ve been assured by the superintendent of education that she’s reviewed practices and there doesn’t appear to be an epidemic of sorts that needs to be addressed,” said Carla Pereira, director of communications at the Peel District School Board.

The school board also said it wants parents to know they’re following policies and procedures.

“Sometimes it’s frustrating for parents when they don’t receive information around a disciplinary action that’s been taken against a child [because] they perceive that not action has been taken,” Pereira explained. “Because of privacy legislation, the administrators of the school, the principal and vice-principal or any staff member is not at liberty to disclose the consequences that have been laid against a child.”

School superintendent Michelle Stubbings did promise action.

“It’s going to take a lot of work, it’s going to take some faith,” Stubbings told the parents. “I’m willing to do it myself, I’m willing to pull in resources into this school to support children.”

Pittman said she has a meeting set up with the superintendent on Thursday morning.

“I’m extremely hopeful, because right now my daughter isn’t attending school,” she said.