N.S. teen with cerebral palsy pressured to lie in creek, walked on by classmate

A Nova Scotia teenager living with cerebral palsy said he was walked on by a classmate while he was lying face down in a stream Wednesday — and no one helped.

Brett Corbett, 14, said his classmates dared him to stand in the shallow water near his school, Glace Bay High School, on lunch break.

“I was standing there as a dare and then they said if ‘you don’t get in I’m going to effin’ punch you, get on your effin’ stomach,’” Corbett said. “And then I let a girl walk on my back thinking it was nice, but then I realized it wasn’t nice at all.”

Video of the incident appeared on Facebook, showing Corbett standing in a stream while people watched and laughed. The video then cuts to Corbett lying face first in the water. A girl then jumps across the stream and uses the teen as a human bridge. It’s followed by more laughter.

“I was freezing … no one tried to help me,” he said. “The girl literally walked on my back, she said, ‘could you get back down please, I don’t want to get wet.’ I shouldn’t have let her walk on my back.”

Corbett said after the incident he didn’t talk to any teachers or his parents. But video of him lying down in the stream started circulating online, and that’s when his brother showed his mom.

Corbett’s mother, Terri McEachern, said it was “devastating and heartbreaking” to see her child in a position where she couldn’t help.

She said she has reached out to the school but has not been given any assurance that the matter is being dealt with. She said a few students were suspended as a result of it, but no one has apologized.

Global News reached out to Glace Bay High School, which is located in Glace Bay, around 430 kilometres northeast of Halifax.

Michelle MacLeod, communications officer for the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, said it’s taking the incident “seriously.”

“The behaviour of the students involved is not one that the Centre for Education is proud of. Both the school and administration are presently investigating the incident.  It is the intent of administration to sit down with the family to discuss the incident further,” MacLeod said.

‘You should be absolutely ashamed of yourself’

Brandon Jolie, whose son is friends with Corbett, posted the video on Facebook Thursday morning in order to spread awareness about the bullying in school, he said.

“Never in my LIFE have I ever been more disgusted. The young boy in this video is my friend’s son, he has cerebral palsy. This is Glace Bay High School,” he stated on Facebook.

“Parents; you failed this generation. The amount of teenagers that stood around and watched this happen, even took videos of it. I hope you watch this video, recognize your kid and feel the shame. To the little girl that stepped on him; you should be absolutely ashamed of yourself.”

Corbett said since the video was posted, students and parents have shown up at his house to express concern, and also share their stories of being bullied.

“I don’t know why they did this,” he said. “And I’m starting to think people maybe would not have done that if they realized what they did was wrong.”

His mother said she hopes sharing her son’s story will shed light on all school bullying and help stop incidents like this from happening again.

“This has got to stop somewhere,” McEachern said. “Whether it’s with kids with or without a disability.”

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