© Herald photo by Tyler Clarke
Carter Ballantyne, 8 -- a victim of almost daily bullying at his Prince Albert elementary school -- is pictured with his mother, Melissa Ballantyne.
Local eight-year-old bullied to the point of changing schools
Smiling brightly on the outside, darkness has been growing in Carter Ballantyne, 8.
Perpetual bullying has beaten him down both emotionally and physically over the past couple years, leaving a negative mark on the local Grade 2 student.
It’s reached a point where the hurtful words and actions of bullies are no longer needed to cause damage, mother Melissa Ballantyne said. When bullies aren’t around, Carter beats himself up using the same points bullies use against him.
“He’s just always putting himself down,” Melissa said, offering Carter’s hand a loving squeeze. Carter looks on, distracted by his own thoughts.
Last week, Carter was punched in the face and pushed to the ground by at least two kids, and on Wednesday he was punched in the stomach -- acts of violence made all the more surprising given Carter’s quiet, friendly demeanour.
Carrying a pit of frustration over her son’s situation and seeing little done to resolve things within the school system, Melissa struck back on Social media on Wednesday. In a Facebook post, she shared Carter’s story of bullying.
Click HERE for the Facebook post.
“If these are your kids please talk to them and teach them how to treat others, because there are 10 years of school left,” she wrote. “Maybe one day they will run into a bully of their own.”
Melissa plugged the message online using a smartphone while waiting for her sister at Superstore. By the time she got home, she found that it had gone viral.
I want people to think; what if that was your kid being bullied? … What would they do? Melissa Ballantyne
“Whoops,” she recalled with a chuckle.
By press time on Thursday it had received more than 4,700 shares and 2,500 likes.
In response, the Prince Albert Boxing Club and Prince Albert Athletics have both offered Carter free time with their organizations, Bikers Against Bullying wants to use his story in an anti-bullying campaign and collections of fan mail from Regina and Red Deer is expected soon.
A stream of supportive Facebook message have come in. “What a handsome guy,” Zoe Kelly posted. “Stand tall little buddy,” urged Tracey Rotinsky. “God luvs u for who u are!” reassured Gert Young.
While the positive response has been reassuring, Carter is still switching schools, Melissa said. By next week he’ll be attending school at Beardy’s First Nation, where he’ll stay with family.
Carter may return to school in Prince Albert next year, by which time Melissa hopes to see him greeted by a more inclusive atmosphere where his self-esteem is nurtured instead of depleted.
“I want people to think; what if that was your kid being bullied?” Melissa asked. “What would they do?”
The Daily Herald will reach out to local school districts today for greater insight on what is being done to stop bullying at city schools.
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