Eastern Townships School Board addresses attack on young boy in Cowansville

By Michael Boriero - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) opened an investigation into a scary altercation near Massey-Vanier High School, after a group of apparently older kids filmed someone attacking a younger boy and uploaded the video on social media.
On Oct. 1 three were arrested in connection with the alleged attack; two minors and one young adult. While one minor and the young adult were released after questioning with conditions, one minor was held for a court appearance the following day, the SQ confirmed.
The incident occurred last week and it already has the Eastern Townships School Board talking about its next steps in the situation. However, ETSB Chair Michael Murray told The Record that the police have asked the board to wait for the investigation to conclude before taking action.
Murray said the board has already put several measures in place throughout the years, spreading the word about anti-bullying. The ETSB has a lot of questions surrounding the brutal attack, he continued, they hope to anticipate and prevent similar incidents in the future.
“We have ongoing anti-bullying projects that we have had for many years; projects that run straight through the curriculum starting in kindergarten, so certainly we don’t ignore the situation, we address it as directly as possible,” said Murray.
Quebec’s provincial police couldn’t provide a timeline for the investigation, which triggered some frustration from Murray. According to the ETSB chair, there have been situations in the past that the board could have aided the police in uncovering the facts.
“The police are very vague about that kind of thing quite frankly and they want to take the time they’re going to take and they don’t know how it’s going to unfold either,” Murray said, adding that all they can do is stay out of their way for now.
Instead, the board is often left fending off wild and crazy accusations flung about on social media, Murray explained. The problem, he continued, is that those accusations and theories are frequently disproven after the police have finished their investigation.
New school construction project
Murray also revealed to The Record that the ETSB was granted permission to begin construction on a new elementary school in Drummondville. According to the chair, the school will have 15 classrooms and is projected to open in 2022.
It’s the first school construction project in over 50 years, Murray explained, which is a major milestone for the school board. The project was approved a year ago, however, a land issue quickly emerged with Drummondville city officials.
“We had reached an agreement in advance, so it’s been held up by conflict or lack of agreement between the Ministry of Education and the city of Drummondville,” said Murray.
Murray said that there was some push back when the city was informed about a new law requiring them to cede land to the Ministry of Education. The ETSB ended up landing a prime location at a municipal park.
With the land dispute and the COVID-19 outbreak, the timetable for the construction project is slightly delayed, Murray added, but the board believes it can get the project up and running fairly quickly. They’re planning to open tenders within the next few weeks.
“We’re hoping to accelerate the next phases, all the planning is done, all the engineering, all the drawings, everything,” Murray said.

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