National Kick a Ginger Day has one Prince George parent seeing red.
Diane Paquet said her daughter, Grade 8 DP Todd student Cassie Wilson, was kicked repeatedly by older schoolmates on Nov. 20. Wilson was one of many red-haired victims who were targeted for violence across Canada.
“This is racist. This is assault and I’m really not accepting this,” Paquet said. “There was three girls and two guys who kicked her. I’m just absolutely appalled.”
The idea stemmed from a group on the popular social networking Web site, Facebook. The group, called “National Kick a Ginger Day, are you going to do it?” encouraged students to mimic the character Eric Cartman on the satirical TV show South Park.
Comox Valley RCMP have begun an investigation of a Courtenay, B.C teenager who administrated the Facebook group.
Paquet presented her concerns to the Prince George board of education on Tuesday and said she feels the school didn’t do enough to protect students.
“Let’s prevent, not deal with issues after they’ve happened. We seem to be falling backwards in certain areas,” she said. “I think first off the RCMP should be called in to explain how serious this could be. This is assault.”
Paquet said she planned to speak with DP Todd school administration this week about what could have been done better. Parents and students need to feel comfortable coming to the school if there is a concern.
In addition, Paquet said, students who were attacked should receive an apology and the offer of counselling if they need it.
“The bruises go away, but the emotional wounds stay,” she said. “After we went on TV, the next day she was told she was fat, she was ugly and she shouldn’t have gone on TV.”
As of Tuesday, the only action Wilson saw regarding the incident was from some concerned fellow students.
“Today when she went to school two groups of students said they’d watch out for her,” Paquet said. “She needs to rely on her friends with us talking to the media. There was no mention at her school.”
Parents need to take more responsibility for instilling values in their children and monitoring what they watch and what they do online, she said.
“It’s degrading, it’s abusive. I’m embarrassed as a community member.”