Parent upset Mi’kmaw students separated at high school after son was assaulted

The mother of a Mi’kmaw teen who was assaulted at a high school in Milford, N.S. is upset that school officials separated Mi’kmaw students from the rest of the student body following the incident on Wednesday.

Cherie Brook’s son, 17-year-old Cody Julian, was punched in the jaw from behind by another student, a non-Mi’kmaw, at Hants East Rural High. Her son was in line for lunch at the cafeteria when the assault happened. He immediately suffered a seizure and was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Cody Julian, 17, and his mother, Cherie Brooks. Julian was assaulted at Hants East Rural High on Oct. 4/Photo by Stephen Brake

Brooks said she was told Mi’kmaw students from her home community of Indian Brook First Nation were then separated from the rest of the students following the incident.

“They put them in the library and they kept them away from everybody because they said they were upset and that they didn’t know what they would do,” Cherie Brooks said Thursday.

“It wasn’t a racial issue with my son and the other non-native until they gathered all the natives,” she said.

“This is an ongoing issue that’s been going on for 40 years. This needs to stop,” she added.

No students were separated – school board

According to a spokesman with Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, no students at Hants East Rural High were separated from one another following the incident.

“The school’s First Nations Liaison Officer invited a number of Mi’kmaq students into the library to discuss the incident and to provide support and guidance during a stressful time at the school,” communications manager Darcy MacRae wrote in an email to Ku’ku’kwes News.

Hants East Rural High in Milford, N.S./Photo by Stephen Brake

However, Brooks said school officials should have gathered all students to discuss what happened, not separate the Mi’kmaw students.

“I think it’s unfair and I think they should have made all the kids go to assembly and talk to everybody,” Brooks said.

According to MacRae, both Sipekne’katik Chief Michael Sack and Mike Smith, the principal of Hants East Rural High met on Thursday to discuss the assault and what happened afterwards.

“They agree that this began as an isolated non-racial incident that has the potential to be perceived as racial in nature,” MacRae said in the email.

On Thursday, Chief Sack posted a note on his Facebook page inviting parents and students to a meeting in Indian Brook First Nation to discuss the situation.

Chief Sack did not respond to Ku’ku’kwes News request for an interview.

“I’m feeling a little bit better.” – Cody Julian

Meanwhile, Julian said he did suffer a concussion while he was taking convulsions.

“I was told as soon as I was in the ambulance that I was having convulsions and that when I did that, I probably hit the ground hard,” the Grade 12 student said Thursday.

Cody Julian, 17/Photo by Stephen Brake

Julian said he also suffered a scrape on his chin and a couple of scrapes on his elbows.

“I’m feeling a little bit better. I’m feeling a little bit heavy on the head,” Julian said.

Julian said that despite what happened this week, he has no intentions of dropping out or changing schools. He said he plays badminton and rugby at school and likes hanging out with his friends at Hants East Rural High.

Right now, Julian said he’s only worried about getting behind on his schoolwork.

“This turned into a lot bigger than it initially started. I really don’t know what to think about it,” Julian said.

“I’m going to stay calm, you know. Do what I usually do at school, hang with friends, try to catch up on this homework,” he said.

Brooks said she has to take her son back to the hospital for a follow up to find out why he suffered a seizure. She said she also plans to talk with the RCMP about laying charges against the student who assaulted her son.

“Yes, charges are going to be laid,” Brooks said.

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About Maureen Googoo 270 Articles
Maureen Googoo is an award-winning journalist from Indian Brook First Nation (Sipekne'katik) in Nova Scotia. She has worked in news more than 30 years for media outlets such as CBC Radio, the Chronicle-Herald and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. Maureen has an arts degree in political science from Saint Mary's University in Halifax, a journalism degree from Ryerson University in Toronto and a Masters degree in journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City.