A second Fredericton family has come forward, saying it’s dealing with serious bullying issues at Leo Hayes High School.
Last Friday, a couple took the drastic step of pulling their 15-year-old son Brenden out of the school after he had endured months of persistent harassment by his ex-girlfriend, which he said drove him to cut himself.
That story struck a chord with another Fredericton man, who says his teenaged son is also being harassed by a former girlfriend at the school and on social networking websites.
"Our son reacted quite poorly and spiraled down into almost a depression and got into some cutting and so on and so forth," said the man, whose name CBC has agreed not to use in order to protect his son.
The man is disappointed with how the school handled his family's complaint.
"It was really sort of brushed over as, 'Well, bullying's reality, deal with it.’ Not in those words, but in that attitude," he said. "Almost like the schools are powerless to intervene in these kinds of incidents."
Principal Kevin Pottle said he can't talk about specific cases for privacy reasons.
But School District 18 has hired a retired police officer to look into both cases, he said.
The school district is also waiting for a report and recommendations from a special committee that was struck to deal with cyberbullying, he added.
Bullying and harassment are treated very seriously at the school and that some offenders have been suspended in the past, stressed Pottle.
"We don't publicly come out and say, ‘For every instance of bullying you're going to be suspended for five days, 10 days,’ the way we do with fighting," he said.
"And the other side of it, a student who's been consequenced [sic]
has a tendency to play down, 'What did they say to you?.' 'Oh nothing.'"
Meanwhile, some students at the school have been sporting anti-bullying shirts to show support for Brenden, whose last name CBC News has agreed not to use to partially protect his identity.
"We don't agree with bullying," said fellow student Megan Thomson.
She hopes Brenden will return because of students like her.
"There are people that are willing to stand beside him and say, ‘If you're being bullied, we can help you.’"
Brenden’s family maintains the school has failed to protect him and don't feel it's safe for him to return.
CBC News spoke with the mother of the alleged bully in Brenden’s case. She claimed her daughter has also been the victim of bullying and harassment.