Community rallies around transgender B.C. teen assaulted at school
MISSION, B.C. -- Residents of Mission, B.C., and surrounding communities showed up in tow trucks, Teslas and everything in between to show solidarity with a teen viciously assaulted at a middle school because of their gender identity.
Hundreds of vehicles staged at Mission Raceway, a park in the municipality in B.C.'s Lower Mainland, before travelling past the victim and their family in a boisterous caravan.
“It just breaks my heart,” said Katey Garley, who travelled from Abbotsford to take part in the rally.
The attack, which reportedly took place at Ecole Heritage Park Middle School last Monday, is said to have been carried out by a pair of 14-year-old girls. It is alleged they repeatedly kicked the victim while they were down.
In a now-deleted video of the incident posted on Instagram, other students could be heard encouraging the violence, and nobody stepped in to stop it.
“I believe we need to make a stand about what’s going on. It’s not right,” said Denise Scott, one of the rally attendees.
The RCMP arrested two girls accused in the attack and is recommending charges of assault against both of them, and a single charge of uttering threats against one of them. Neither has been publicly identified because of their age.
On Sunday, the line of cars, trucks, motorcycles and even horses stretched for kilometres as thousands of people showed their support for the victim while taking a stand against transphobia and bullying.
“We just can’t believe how many messages we’ve received from people just saying, 'We’re behind you,'” said the victim’s mother, who CTV News is not identifying. “And to know that they’re supporting our child as well is amazing.”
She said as soon as her child contacted her to say they had been assaulted, she raced to the school to be with them.
“I was absolutely crushed. I ran out the door as quickly as I could and got to the school,” she said. “I phoned my wife and we were both just there and all we could do was hold her.”
Less than a week later, in a massive show of support, it was residents of Mission and surrounding communities that held the family, letting them know they are not alone.
“We just want to offer our support and let her and everybody know that bullying is not right. There’s no place for it,” said Andrea Gallant, who took part in the rally.
The two accused have been released from custody and are scheduled to appear in court in March.