An Instagram account promoting schoolyard fighting in Cape Breton is causing deep concern in the community.
“I was totally shocked, “said Deni-Lynn McPherson of Whitney Pier who was shown the social media account cape_bretonfights by one of her daughters.
She said the Instagram page included videos of schoolyard fights at Whitney Pier Memorial and Sydney Academy. The site also encourages kids to post videos of fights they see at their school.
“I was sick to my stomach over it,” said McPherson who watched three of the videos. “My girls go to Whitney Pier Memorial and have had issues with girls trying to fight them.”
McPherson has been informed that those responsible for the site had set it up so kids would be recorded while fighting.
“A lot of the kids don’t want to fight or don’t even know they are going to fight.”
McPherson has four children and said all have attended Whitney Pier Memorial. She called it a good school and had never heard of this kind of thing happening there.
The Cape Breton Post also received an anonymous message about two local Instagram schoolyard fight sites — cape_bretonfights and capebretonschoolfights.
“There is Instagram pages floating around on social media with multiple videos of kids all over Cape Breton fighting,” the message read. “All ages as young as 7-8 years old up to probably 15 or 16. The videos are horrible and something needs to be done.”
The message described the videos as, ‘bullying and harassment at its finest.’
“Light needs to be shed on this issue,” the message further stated. “It’s sickening.”
Michelle MacLeod, spokesperson for the Cape Breton Victoria-Regional Centre for Education, confirmed the Instagram schoolyard fight page had been brought to their attention.
“We were just made aware of the site,” MacLeod said. “We brought it to the attention of the Cape Breton Regional Police Service. We also reported it to Instagram.”
MacLeod, who did not see the videos, said the site did not name high schools involved, only initials and not full names. She has contacted the schools in the area the initials matched, even though there’s no confirmation it was these schools.
“The schools have notified their liaison officers,” she added.
Cape Breton Regional Police spokesperson Desiree Magnus confirmed that police have received an inquiry concerning the Instagram site from the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional Centre for Education.
Magnus said police have not received any further information or complaints.
When the information was shared with them, police made attempts to locate the Instagram page but it had already been removed.
If anyone does see further related videos or social media accounts of this nature, they are asked to report them to police by calling 902-563-5151.
McPherson had shared a screenshot of the site on Facebook because she wanted parents to be aware of what was happening at the schools.
Since then the Instagram page has remained active but the name cape_bretonfights has been taken off and the site made private.