The parents of an Alma, Que., boy who has been missing for more than a week say he complained the night before his disappearance that someone was threatening to hurt him at school.
David Fortin, 14, was last seen on Feb. 10 after he left his family home in Alma, in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region.
He told his parents he was going to catch his morning bus to Camille-Lavoie secondary school as usual, but police said the boy never arrived.
His father, Eric Fortin, believes his son ran away because he could not face going to school where he would have to deal with his aggressors.
"It must have been hell, a real ordeal for him," said Fortin.
He said his son may have been picked on because of a speech impediment.
"He had been promised a punch in the mouth," said Fortin.
The boy's mother, Caroline Lachance, said the threat was just part of a larger campaign of intimidation against her son by several students at the school.
"Other kids said things to him that weren't easy to hear," said Lachance.
She said the bullying ranged from verbal harassment to physical assault. The school had even assigned a security guard to keep an eye on Fortin every day.
School promises more anti-bullying awareness
Officials at the boy's school are promising to do more to warn students about the dangers of bullying.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, some schools in the Montreal area released their plans for dealing with bullying in their schools.
Under the new program, 11 south shore schools will teach students how to deal with bullying if they are a victim or a witness.
Police and volunteers are continuing to search for David Fortin.
Search teams have been active in both the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean and Central Quebec regions after witnesses reported seeing a boy matching his description.
Fortin is tall for his age (173 centimetres), weighs 75 kilograms and has brown eyes and brown hair.
When he disappeared, he was wearing a red jacket with the word Polaris on the back. He was also wearing blue jeans, red mitts and a grey tuque.
Police are asking anyone with information on the missing boy to call 1-800-659-4264.