Dartmouth father frustrated after school calls police on nine-year-old son – Halifax


An incident at Ian Forsyth Elementary School on Tuesday resulted in a temporary lock and hold, and the police being called.

Christopher Panton says it all started when his nine-year-old son was bullied by an older student.

“He said he was coming from the washroom and a kid punched him in the stomach,” Panton told Global News.

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Panton says that his son tried to retaliate, but was unable to catch up to the older student. He got frustrated and started to cry.

The Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) has confirmed that an incident occurred during the lunch period while students were outside. A statement to Global News says

“The student in need was kept outside at the end of the lunch period with the principal and several adults for approximately 10-15 minutes,” HRCE spokesperson Doug Hadley stated.

During that time, the school was placed in a hold and secure, and police were called.

Panton says there was no reason for law enforcement to get involved.

“My son is not dangerous. He is quiet and calm. The only time he is acting up is when somebody is trying to bully him,” said Panton.

Another parent who witnessed the nine year old outside with the principal told Global News that she too was surprised the police were called.

“He did not have a weapon, he was not hurting anyone,” said the woman, who asked to not be identified.

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Panton has raised concerns that his son was treated differently than other students. He feels the police were ultimately called because of his race.

“He said they are treating him like a criminal. He said when the cops come they were like ‘what are you wearing, what do you have in his hand, do you have a weapon?’” Panton said.

He said he has heard of other instances where white students acted out in a violent manner and were told to go to the gym to “cool off,” and says there seems to be a double standard for his son because he’s black.

HRCE says they take the concerns seriously, and that they’ve have reached out to the family and are working with them.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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