Education minister stresses patience for investigations after Devan Selvey death
Ontario's education minister was in the spotlight Thursday, facing questions about accountability regarding the murder of 14-year-old Hamilton student Devan Selvey, whose mother says was bullied for months without significant consequence.
"I will review the investigation's findings and contemplate action at that point," Stephen Lecce said regarding the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board review into Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School.
A 14-year-old and 18-year-old are charged with the first-degree murder of Selvey, who died Monday after being stabbed in front of his school.
His mother, Shari-Ann, spoke through tears to reporters about how her son had been bullied since the beginning of school and despite reporting the abuse, there was no accountability.
"All schools have the same policy, zero tolerance and zero bullying and everyone belongs and it's not true, and no one's held accountable for it," she said. "Everyone failed my son, even I did, I tried to save him and I couldn't, I couldn't get to him in time."
Hamilton police said they continue to look into the bullying concerns.
Lecce spoke as his government announced a $40 million investment into mental health supports for schools, most of which would be spent on funding 180 mental health workers in secondary schools.
$6.5 million is also going to the Hamilton-Wentworth board.
While discussing the broad points about the importance of accountability, Lecce declined to get into what should happen if administrators were found to have been negligent.
"My expectation is when a principal of a school or a vice-principal or administrator, is cognizant of a child feeling isolated or harmed or victimized by a peer or by an adult, that there is action taken," he said.
Since news of Selvey's death, multiple reports have come out regarding other students speaking about their bullying experiences at the school
Lecce was asked if it's sufficient that it's the board investigating its own school.
"We need to look at those findings, understand how we can learn lessons from those findings to ensure no child feels in the same isolation and vulnerability," he said. "Then at the conclusion of that report, for us all as political actors at all levels of government to understand how we can put those principals in place."
Lecce has reached out to the board, said he would speak to the principal and would eventually contact Devan's mother.