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This is an update to the 2003(4 ) newspaper article Boy charged in school bus beating headed for U.S. boot camp - He is one of our many children who have been Shipped off to Utah . See the original article with the newspaper article at this hyperlink !
This young man is a prime example of the government's failure to provide adequate and proper services to families and children. For Shame ! - People of Nova Scotia, we must demand better from our government!
A Mother’s Heartache
Her little boy's life started out happily enough. But at the tender age of 10, when he lost both his dog and his dad, his world changed forever.
By TERA CAMUS Cape Breton Bureau 5:09 AM
Halifax Herald August 5, 2007
A Sydney mother looks at old baby photographs, wondering what went so terribly wrong. Her 15-year-old son has been charged in a double stabbing. (Tera Camus / Cape Breton Bureau)
A MOTHER IS on the phone with her son at the Waterville youth detention centre, calmly telling him not to commit suicide.
"He feels unwanted; he feels rejected," the Sydney woman says after he ends the call. "I think he’s going to try and kill himself. I don’t know what to do."
Neither the 15-year-old, who was charged after two men were stabbed in Truro last Sunday, nor his mother can be named under the terms of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
His mom reaches across the kitchen table, opens a family album and starts showing pictures of happier times with her three children. The boy’s sweet face lights up with a bright smile in photos with his older sister and younger brother.
"All three of my children were happy-go-lucky kids," she says in an interview as she flips through the images of the youngsters dressed in Superman capes or as Halloween pumpkins, or opening Christmas presents in a well-kept, modest home.
"He loved my pots and was always climbing into them . . . but he was hyperactive." His mom recalls times when he was as young as three that he ran out of the house into the woods of Indian Brook or to visit the community’s lone church to play.
But his lively, innocent ways ended the year he turned 10.
In 2001, the boy’s beloved dog was killed in front of him by a vehicle in his hometown. In a matter of weeks, his biological father, whom he loved and spent a great deal of time with, failed to return to his Indian Brook home after a fishing trip. Six days later, on June 1, Enfield RCMP pulled his father’s body from the Shubenacadie River.
"He blames himself for that death," his mother says. "He was supposed to go fishing with him in the Shubie River, and I think he feels if he was there he could have saved his father.
"He began acting out a lot. . . . That’s when he started drinking and taking drugs like marijuana and popping pills like Dilaudid (a painkiller) and skipping school. He started hanging out with the wrong crew, fighting his brother. A doctor in Tatamagouche then put him on Paxil (an antidepressant), and I think that drug made him even worse.
"I remember him telling me it was his worst birthday ever. He got suspended 15 times at school that year. . . . He got so angry."
The downward cycle continued. A couple of months later, an elderly friend of the family he considered his grandfather died of natural causes, heaping more pain on the boy. Then his mom’s marriage began to fall apart; her husband heaped on the abuse, swearing and threats, against both her and the children.
One night, when her husband was out and she was lying in bed recovering from stomach surgery, an intruder wielding a broken beer bottle broke into their home demanding money.
The elder boy and his eight-year-old brother grabbed a rake and shovel and drove the man out of the house while she called RCMP. The man, a parole violator, was arrested soon afterward and later convicted of charges related to the break-in.
All the pain and heartache in her home was too much for over-stressed mother to deal with. On one particularly difficult day, when her increasingly troubled elder son was "out of control" and refusing even to get up for school, she decided to seek help from Mi’kmaw Family and Children’s Services [Always a fateful mistake -NEVER go to Children Services for help!] , a provincial agency created in 1997 to provide child welfare services to all 13 reserves across the province.
"I told the agency, ‘Come get him or I’ll hurt him.’ I said he needs counselling I can’t give," she remembers of the phone call she still regrets to this day. "He was so out of control. I was so stressed that day. I said, that’s it, I’m calling the agency. I said I’d harm him, but I didn’t mean it. There was just so much chaos around me."
Agency staff arrived at her Indian Brook home and threatened to remove all three of her children if she didn’t give up permanent custody of the boy about whom she had made verbal threats during that phone call. So it was that in 2003 she and her other two children found themselves in Waycobah, living at a shelter for abused women and children.
Although she has kept in touch with her son since then, he has been shunted from foster homes to group homes after first going to stay at a relative’s home. In those four years, she says, he has been to school for only a few days. [Unfortunately, this is all too common for many children who have been apprehended by the government!]
His mom says his has never received psychiatric counselling or treatment and that he has continued to buck the system everywhere he went, disobeying the rules in the places where he lived, many of them non-native homes.
"How can the agency get away with not sending him to school?" she says. "If I wanted a gangster, I would have married a mobster."
She believes that at one foster home there was rampant alcohol and drug abuse and that her son was also sexually abused, but she can’t prove it and her son hasn’t acknowledged anything.
A month ago, she says, the agency was told her son had expressed a serious desire to stab someone — anyone. To the best of her knowledge, nothing was done to get him psychological help to prevent that.
Mi’kmaw Family and Children’s Services was contacted Friday and asked about the warning, but a spokeswoman refused to comment, given the agency’s rule of confidentiality concerning children in their care.
"Everything is done on a case-by-case basis," she said. "The goal is (that) we want to preserve the family, but it may not be a safe environment for the child." [and were this child was sent was?]
It was not the first mention of this boy in connection with stabbing. He was only 12 when he sent to Waterville in 2004 for threatening another boy with a knife on school property in Yarmouth, where he was living in a group home.
"You think they would have helped him back then, but they didn’t," his mom says.
The frustrated mother says she has been trying to get her son back for years. She plans to go to court to try to get custody of him again, but she feels time is running out. She’s afraid her son will continue to fall through the cracks. She recalls the phone conversation and wonders whether he will even be alive to be reunited with her, should she win her battle.
"The system has failed him," she says. "I don’t do drugs or alcohol. . . . I don’t understand why I have to fight to get him back."
Her son will be back in court Thursday for a bail hearing on charges of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon after the double stabbing outside a Truro restaurant July 29. The Halifax-area victims, 26 and 28, received non-life-threatening injuries after they were attacked by three teens.
He was the only one charged.