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'Blood was visible': Parents demand action on safety concerns at Sask. school after violent assault

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Some Meath Park School parents say a number of serious incidents, including an alleged violent assault in mid-March, have not been adequately addressed by school administration.

Steve Brown says his daughter witnessed the assault which involved a Grade 7 boy attacking another boy after a teacher stepped out of the room at the school in the community of Meath Park, located roughly 40 kilometeres northeast of Prince Albert.

He said some students "were screaming and crying hysterically" and "blood was visible."

"Two other boys, from what I understand, had to pull the attacker off the boy to restrain them," Brown said.

Brown said he is one of more than two dozen parents advocating for changes in the Kindergarten to Grade 12 school.

He said the parents banded together following the alleged assault in March.

“We’re looking to get together with the school division to have a chat about some safety and performance issues at our school,” Brown said in an interview.

He told CTV News the group tried to meet with the school division, but their request was denied.

Brown then created an online petition, that garnered 500 signatures, requesting a meeting with representatives from the school division.

He said the students were promised changes including a safety suggestion box, where they could confidentially tip off local administration if they believe an incident may occur.

Brown said the box is of particular importance because he believes the alleged assault was premeditated and that other students were aware of the boy's plans

“It’s been over 30 days later and that box hasn’t come in yet, so again further frustration on seeing things move forward,” Brown said.

“It’s kind of sad in some respects, we’re going to that point of getting a petition started, just to get a meeting to discuss the safety of our kids,” he said.

Brown said RCMP was not aware of the assault until the father of the injured boy told police himself.

He said parents weren't informed about the incident until an email a day later — which Brown said got some details wrong.

"The administration proceeded to send an email out afterwards indicating it happened over the lunch hour, which even made us even more upset because all our kids told us it happened during class, which it did," Brown said.

Another parent who spoke to CTV News attended the school as a child.

“I was always happy to be here at school. I understand over the years things have changed and times have changed," Cagney O’Hara said.

"Feeling safe when coming to your school environment should not be in question,” she said.

Parent Travis Fox told CTV News he's heard of incidents of sexual harassment and students who have brought weapons to school.

“It’s crazy how much is going on here and nobody is dealing with it,” Fox said.

Saskatchewan RCMP said officers have "received and responded" to two separate reports of assaults, including one on March 19. Also, RCMP received a report of "indecent act/exposure" at the school on April 1.

"All incidents involved youth and no charges were laid as the three different subjects of complaints were all youth under the ages of 12," an RCMP email said.

"Nipawin-Smeaton RCMP continue to work closely with the school and community members to provide direction on how to maintain the safety of students and the importance of reporting these incidents to police," RCMP said.

In a statement to CTV News, the Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division (SRPSD) which oversees Meath Park School, said it is committed to providing safe learning environments.

“The division is aware of several incidents with individual students in recent months. Each one was managed with appropriate intervention, discipline, the Violent Threat Risk Assessment process as needed and counselling or other support as required,” SRPSD said.

The SRPSD said at this time, any correspondence received is considered at the school level and concerns have been addressed with school staff.

“Concerned parents are encouraged to call the Superintendent of Schools responsible for Meath Park as the next step in the procedure. Two parents have done that and plans are in place to address their specific concerns,” the division said.

The SRPSD said school staff have "enhanced" supervision and support for students.

Saskatchewan's Ministry of Education said the division has assured the ministry that it's working "to connect with parents at the school."

"Saskatchewan Rivers School Division confirmed to the Ministry of Education that student safety is a top priority," a ministry statement said.

--With files from Chandra Philip

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