Six Ottawa youths charged in hate-motivated assault, police say

Teens charged in hate attack

Six youths have been charged in Ottawa following what police call a hate-motivated assault near a high school last month.

Ottawa police announced the charges Monday and said the assault took place near Gloucester High School on Sept. 8. 

They said six youths have been charged with multiple hate-motivated offences including robbery, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and intimidation by violence.

The youths who are facing charges cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

A video shared on social media last month showed a group pushing a teen to the ground before kicking and beating him. 

In an online petition, a group of parents with children who study at Ottawa-Carleton District School Board schools said the victim was a Syrian immigrant and called on the board and the Ontario government to take "actual steps" to protect students from hate-motivated violence. 

"We, as parents of kids who go to the OCDSB schools, picture ourselves as parents of the victim as well," the parents said in the petition, which was signed by more than 14,500 people as of Monday. 

"As such, (we) feel utterly enraged and are completely in shock that this is in fact happening in our safe communities and among school students."

In a statement, the school board acknowledged the "call to action" to keep students safe and said the school has discussed what happened with students as well as how they can raise concerns with staff.

"This fall, the OCDSB has launched a new anonymous reporting tool in secondary schools for students looking to share concerns about topics including mental health issues, safety, bullying, hate or discrimination, abuse and other areas," the board said.

The board said it has also launched an internal investigation into the incident and is supporting the student and his family.

Grace Lee, a spokeswoman for Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce, condemned the assault in a statement. 

“It is entirely unacceptable for this student to face violence in his community," she said. "All students - irrespective of faith, heritage, sexual orientation and colour of skin - deserve to feel safe in and out of schools."

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