‘I’m fed up’: Oshawa mother says her child is being bullied at school, demands action

A concerned mother led a protest at an elementary school in Oshawa Thursday to call for immediate action after her daughter had been bullied several times.

“I’m fed up,” Elesia Mathews said. “How many times do I have to leave my job to make sure that my daughter is safe?”

Matthews says her 13-year-old daughter who goes to Elsie MacGill Public School has been constantly bullied by three other Grade 8 students and, in some instances, online too. The final straw, she says, happened last Friday when she got a call from her daughter and found that her bullies threatened to beat her up.

Matthews says she’s been in several meetings with school officials who told her they were looking into the situation.

“They continued making promises – broken promises – and my daughter kept feeling unsafe and threatened,” she said.

Matthews vows to keep coming to the school daily and protest until those involved are expelled.

“They need to make a change, and they need to start now,” she said.

Matthews has also spoken to the school police liaison officer about the situation. She said, “He’s telling me that change is going to happen. But when?”

Matthews started an online petition to put a spotlight on the issue. In the petition, she wrote that what her daughter is going through is not an isolated incident, and other students are also being bullied.

Elizabeth Schivas was among the parents who participated in the protest. She said her two children attending the school have also experienced bullying.

“My children, they’ve been spoken to very inappropriately. Threats have been made against them,” Schivas said, adding that the situation has been going on since last year.

In a statement, Durham District School Board (DDSB) said it is actively addressing concerns that have been raised at the school.

“In all instances of bullying, the DDSB follows a progressive discipline model that prioritizes the safety and well-being of every student. We are taking all concerns very seriously and our efforts are dedicated to creating a positive and caring school environment where every student feels safe, respected, and valued,” the board said.

There were reports of teachers walking out of the school Thursday morning, and Matthews believes it’s because the school has become unsafe for work.

ETFO Durham Teachers’ Local, the union representing teachers in Durham Region, confirmed to CP24 that 20 employees at the school, including teachers, engaged in the right to refuse unsafe work.

DDSB said while there was a “staffing matter” that disrupted the start of school Thursday, “there is no ongoing safety issue at Elsie MacGill PS, and the school day continued as normal with a focus on learning and well-being.”

With files from CTV News Toronto’s Ted Brooks

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