Editor’s note: This story originally used the mother’s full name. She has since asked that her last name not be published.
An Edmonton-area mother wants to warn teens and parents after she said her 14-year-old was seriously injured in a “fight club” initiated by boys at his school.
Tanya’s son, a Grade 8 student at Woodhaven Middle School in Spruce Grove, needed surgery from a fight that left him with a broken nose and cheek bone and a severe injuries to his left eye.
She asked that Global News not use his name because of fears for his safety. She said her son came home from school on May 3 covered in blood.
“I didn’t even know what colour his clothes were, there was so much blood. And he collapsed,” she said Tuesday.
An RCMP release issued Tuesday afternoon said officers are investigating complaints of a “so-called youth ‘fight club’” in Spruce Grove. It says they believe youth are using social media to announce locations throughout the city where they plan to fight.
“The RCMP are working in partnership with the Spruce Grove enforcement officers to monitor social media, and creating dialogue within our local high schools to deter students from participating/supporting these types of activities.”
A spokesperson with the Parkland School Division said the district will not comment on a specific case, but sent a statement.
“We can confirm these incidents involving community youth are not happening at school and not happening during school hours,” the statement said.
Tanya said the boy who initiated the fight has been expelled.
She said when she asked her son what happened to him, he initially told her he fell off his long board.
“I knew that wasn’t right. His pants - there were no rips, no tears – and it was all his face. And I asked him, ‘who hit you?’”
“It’s just a random thing. He was just randomly chosen to fight… a fight club.”
Tanya said the fight was videotaped and posted to social media.
“Obviously he’s not safe. No kids are safe if these fight clubs are residing in our schools.”
Tanya said her son had surgery on May 12 to repair his nose. He hasn’t been back to school since and she’s not sure he will go back.
“I’m looking into maybe some modules or different programming that we can do with him at home. Not just because of the injuries, more for his well-being. He’s really intimidated.”
She said May 3 was a “normal day” until she came home at lunch to find her son, who usually eats lunch at school, walking up the driveway.
He was very persistent that he didn’t feel well and wanted to stay home, but she drove him back to school.
“I should’ve just saw that something was up. It was just an odd thing for him to be home but I wasn’t looking for anything, I didn’t see anything.”
A couple of hours later, he texted to say he wanted to come home.
“I said, ‘just hang in there. Forty more minutes of school. I’ll see you after school.’”
Less than an hour later, he came home beaten and bloody.
Tanya said her son told her he was approached at school that morning by a boy and his friends.
“He was confronted to join in a fight and my son has really bad social anxiety and he’s a very anxious boy and was very intimidated. Having been alone and confronted, he agreed to the fight,” she explained.
“The boy wanted to do the fight at lunchtime and that’s when my son said, ‘I can’t at lunchtime I’m going to go home for lunch’ – trying to get out of it, he says.
“The boy then suggested after school and the rules were kind of read to my son that, ‘these are the rules.’ It was supposed to be a ‘bro fight.’”
She hopes parents will keep a close eye on their kids.
“These boys are not to talk about the fight club. Hopefully other mothers and fathers can keep their kids safer.”
“The guilt of me not letting my son come home that day just eats me alive. I could have stopped it but it could have been someone else’s boy if I let him come home that day. This boy wanted to fight, so I’m told.”
With files from Kendra Slugoski, Global News.