WATCH: Some First Nation parents are worried about racism at Cowichan Secondary school and that it, at least in part, fuelled a vicious fight between students on Monday. Video of the fight was posted online and quickly started circulating on social media. The mother of the First Nations boy involved says she hopes racism didn’t motivate the fight but she believes it played a role. Kendall Hanson reports.
They are rugby teammates but on Monday, two Cowichan Secondary School students were videotaped fighting in a Duncan street.
It’s an ugly incident that sees both boys giving and taking severe blows. And some, including one of the boy’s mothers, believe it was racially motivated.
“I don’t want it to be. Honestly, I don’t have enough information,” said the boy’s mother Doris (CHEK News is withholding her last name to help protect her son’s identity). “But from what my son and the kids have told me it’s been racist towards them.”
And one of the boy’s friends says he also believes the fight was racially motivated.
“They’re saying that we don’t belong here and I don’t like that at all and I don’t say the same thing to them because we’re all the same,” said student Tyrell Bob.
“That we’re trash and we don’t belong here [and] this is their school,” recalls student Brittney Harry. “But it has our native designs all over the school.”
Nearly 20 per cent of the school’s population identifies as Indigenous and for at least some of them, racism has been an issue for some time.
These parents took their concerns to the principal two weeks ago.
“He needs to address this issue and get it dealt with before anything escalates cause obviously there’s going to be a lot of angry parents just like us,” said father Lloyd Bob.
“This makes me feel very upset because my children don’t feel safe to come to school,” said mother Cora Jimmy.
“It needs to be solved for our kids to continue their education. They come to school to be safe,” said grandmother Lisa Harry. “I walked her to school this morning. Do I have to walk her to school each morning so they don’t bother her?”
Police were at the school for most of Tuesday to ensure the safety and security of students.
Mounties are investigating the fight and charges are possible.
At least one of the boys ended up at the hospital once it was all over.
“Possible mild concussion. His jaw might be fractured or it’s just bruised. We don’t know yet and he’s got a goose egg on the back of his head,” said Doris.