Nazi students protest against violence in schools


Grade 8 and 9 students at Astral Drive Junior High in Cole Harbour, NS, organized a walkout Friday morning to protest their concerns about violence on school grounds.

They gathered on a busy road and held signs calling for the Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE).

“We talked to our assistant principal and the principal, but no one could really help us,” said Ava Merrick, the strike organizer.

The protests were sparked by an incident on Tuesday in which a student was attacked in the school bathroom. Claire Kelly, an eighth-grader, described the incident as frightening.

“I wanted to leave, but she just blocked the door, so I just tried to get out and she just started attacking me. She punched me in the [and] “She grabbed me,” she said.

Claire said this was not the first time she had been attacked.

“I pulled my hair with a friend, sprayed perfume on my face and stuffed gum down my throat,” Claire said.

She said she did not feel safe and her mother felt the school had not done enough.

“The supervisor at Astral Drive has repeatedly told me about the policies, procedures and code of conduct. Yes, every child has the right to an education, but our children have the right to feel safe at school,” said Claire's mother, Wendy Kelly.

Pictured is Astral Drive Junior High. (Source: Hafsa Arif/CTV News Atlantic)

According to HRCE, safety is the highest priority.

“Violent behaviour will never be tolerated. We can assure the community that this was a serious incident and that serious and immediate consequences will be imposed in accordance with the province's school code of conduct,” the centre said in a statement to CTV News.

Other students at the protest said there have been several attacks at the school since September and that they are concerned about the violence they say is taking place there.

“I've had water thrown in my face or someone pushed me on the bus before, so I don't ride the bus anymore. When I spoke to the school, they said we would look into it. They ask questions about it, but then they don't do anything. The worst that can happen is they suspend the person, because no one has been expelled from school for any reason,” said Maisie MacDonald.

Ava Merrick, the strike organizer, said they shared their concerns with the school after Tuesday's incident, but nothing has changed.

“The most we got was, 'Well, maybe I can let you go to the bathroom in pairs,' and we thought that wasn't really going to protect us because people were going to get physically hurt,” Merrick said.

There is still a month until the end of the school year, but parents and students do not want to wait until the fall semester for changes.

HRCE said staff will be on-site at Astral Drive Junior High on Monday to listen to students' concerns and determine what needs to be done to increase their sense of safety at school.

For more news from Nova Scotia, visit our dedicated provincial page.