LACOLLE, Que. —; A South Shore mother is seeking justice for her eight-year-old son.
She told Global News that the boy was bullied and beaten up on the school bus by a group of teenagers.
All sides agree something happened, but the bus driver and the school board said they believe the boy may have injured himself.
“I kept asking ‘What happened? What happened?’ and he was crying so hard and he said ‘I hurt so bad,’ and my daughter said he got beat up by teenagers,” said Chantale Couture.
The mother of two was horrified to see her son come home from school last Wednesday, covered with red marks and clearly upset.
“He said he was playing loud with his toys and the teenager told him to shut up and he didn’t shut up,” she said.
“I guess so the teenager was tired of hearing him being loud and hit him.”
WATCH: Zachary told his mother at least two teenagers hit him
His sister witnessed the incident from the front of the bus, and even managed to capture some video on camera before she was told to stop recording.
“They wouldn’t let me take the video then they all got mad and I started crying because I wanted to help my brother and I couldn’t,” said Zachary’s 10-year-old sister, who insisted the bus driver never stopped to help her brother.
Zachary has ADHD and his mother is the first to admit he’s a handful.
But what upsets her the most is that the bus driver and the school principal apparently told her the injuries were self-inflicted.
Zachary told his mother at least two teenagers hit him. provided by Chantal Couture
Zachary told his mother at least two teenagers hit him.
provided by Chantal Couture
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“You can see the marks on his face if you looked at him it’s impossible for the bus driver not to see that,” said Couture, who has filed a police report.
“Why would he lie? And especially those marks, these are not self-inflicted marks. It’s horrible,” she said while looking at the pictures she took after the incident.
But the owner of the bus driving company has a different version of events.
“We didn’t see anyone giving him a hard time but himself,” said Mario Racine of Autobus Racine in Lacolle, who insists the driver did stop the bus until Zachary calmed down.
“I acknowledge the fact that Zachary came back from his route in a poor shape and I feel sorry for that,” said Racine.
“But it’s complicated.”
The Riverside School Board is investigating the incident and apparently the teenagers who were on the bus that day have already been questioned.
READ MORE: Quebec police arrest 2 teens as Riverside School Board denies allegations of school bus bullying
Zachary’s family insisted he was hurt by others.
“They did a lot of things to him and he doesn’t deserve it, he’s only eight and they’re like 16, 17,” said his sister.
Zachary’s mother wants someone to be held accountable, and said despite his sometimes disruptive behaviour, she was convinced her son is the victim in this case.
“I’m terrified, I don’t want to send him back to school.”
“Especially if he has to get back on that bus,” said Couture
“Unfortunately for us it’s the only English school in our district.”
The school board’s Director General Sylvain Racette has agreed to sit down with Global News on Tuesday to explain their version of what happened and what they plan to do about it.
Watch: School board addresses bus bullying