A 14-year-old is facing charges after allegedly assaulting a 12-year-old with a knife.
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is investigating a series of incidents involving the two boys between Sept. 25 and Oct. 6, when the younger boy filed a complaint against the older boy.
During one occasion, the younger boy was reportedly assaulted with a knife but was uninjured as a result. The youths are known to each other and both attend Presentation Junior High School in Corner Brook.
The alleged attacker has been charged with assault with a weapon and released to his parents pending an appearance in youth court Nov. 28.
RNC Insp. Terry Corbin said police are investigating the incidents and there may be additional charges as potential witnesses are interviewed or come forward. He also said it’s possible there may have been other victims in these attacks.
Citing the ongoing nature of the investigation, he wouldn’t say whether the incidents occurred on school grounds or if any adults witnessed the attacks.
Corbin said while the incident could be classified as bullying, police prefer to refer to it as youth violence to underline the seriousness of the attacks.
“We don’t want to diminish the seriousness of the situation,” Corbin said. “It’s youth violence in this case where a weapon was used. Sometimes people may have the understanding that bullying isn’t serious ... but it is very serious.”
He said while incidents involving weapons among children is rare, such police programs as D.A.R.E. are in place to teach children to come forward immediately should they witness or become victims of any attacks.
“You need to report these things and go to someone,” he said. “The whole program is geared towards if you aren’t comfortable with something, speak to someone you trust and come forward with the information as soon as possible.”
The mother of the complainant, a Grade 7 student, said her son called her late in the afternoon Friday claiming to be sick prior to the end of school. When he arrived home, his shirt was stretched out of shape, his jeans were ripped and he was covered in mud.
At first she said he denied being assaulted but quickly broke down when his mother pushed the issue.
“He told me some kid hit him, beat him up and it’s been going on since school started,” she said. “I was shocked and he never even mentioned the knife until we brought him up to talk to a police officer.”
She said she could tell there was something wrong with her son for some time but he kept the incidents to himself.
“He’s a kid that normally smiles and laughs but for a couple of weeks he wasn’t like that,” she said.
Her son has returned to school and his been sitting near the front of the school bus. The mother says she’s concerned that the bullying went on for as long as it did without any fellow classmates stepping in to help.
Aside from a few bruises, she said her son didn’t receive any injuries as a result of his ordeal.
An RNC investigation is continuing regarding other alleged incidents during this time frame.