Okanagan teacher concerned about rise of violence amongst youth

Youth violence on the rise?

Kelowna RCMP are investigating an alleged assault between school-aged children earlier this month.

The incident happened at the intersection of Yates Road and Glenmore Road on Nov. 11 at about 8:30 p.m.

A Kelowna woman, who Castanet is providing anonymity to because she is a teacher on call, says she saw the incident and played a role in breaking up the crowd.

"About 25 kids gathered on the street outside my house. Seconds later, somebody from around the corner said 'he's here,'" the woman said.

"And they all started running around the corner to surprise and jump one kid who was on his own. So he was lured in by one boy to get beaten down by about 25 other kids."

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Michael Gauthier said the incident is under investigation.

"No arrests have been made at this time," he said.

The concerned teacher and mother tells Castanet she has since discovered a social media account that contains a series of videos highlighting and glorifying various school fights and assaults, many in the Okanagan.

"It's horrific. It's common, perhaps more so since COVID-19. Acting out in classrooms and bullying or general disrespect for others has been on the rise."

The teacher-on-call says she has worked at most schools in the region and she says the problem is widespread.

"And it's kids who you would not expect. A few kids in grades seven, eight and nine at my school are all participants in this and they're kids who I would never expect to be involved in this," she said.

"It's something that I think more parents need to know about, because I actually talked to the mom whose son was involved, I showed her the video and she said yes that's my son she had no idea it was that bad."

Two teens were arrested for an assault on another student at Mount Boucherie Secondary School on Nov. 2, 2023.

Both of these incidents were caught on video and shared on social media but Castanet has chosen not to publish the videos or images.

"It's awful. I work with kids in this age group, grades six to nine and they think it's hilarious. I think it's definitely a bigger problem than what people understand. They want to get views."

In previous interviews, Central Okanagan School District superintendent Kevin Kardaal has said every incident of violence is take seriously.

"In all cases where violence occurs between students in the community, or students on students, the district has processes in place that include suspension all the way up to indefinite suspension," said Kardaal.

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