Westport family unsure what future holds for son’s education

Rudy Norman
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Heather Collier says she’s still not sure where her son will attend school in September. Torrence Collier became the focus of media reports last month when his family went public over the bullying the young boy was receiving at the hands of other students at
St. Peter’s Academy in Westport. The Colliers lived in Westport, after returning there from Saskatchewan in 2012.

Torrence Collier

At the time, Heather said her son had faced such visceral bullying that his parents were pulling him out of school for the remainder of the school year. She had intended to send him to Copper Ridge Academy in Baie Verte this September.

“He kept asking us to homeschool him, because he didn’t want to go back and face the bullying again,” she said.

Collier said the Newfoundland and Labrador English School Board is unlikely to  fund the parents’ transportation to Baie Verte from Westport — a 40-plus kilometre drive.

“That application is still being looked at, and I’m told it has to go before the minister of education,” Collier said in an interview this week with The Nor’wester. “So we’re still waiting to hear back on whether or not it will be approved or not.”

During the last few days of school last month an opportunity arose for Torrence to visit the school in Stephenville, where the Colliers have family.

“I was talking to someone and they suggested that Torrence might need a positive influence of a school, after he’d been through so much here,” said Collier. She contacted the school board, and they put the plans in motion for Torrence to become a student at Stephenville Elementary for a few days.

“He really loved it,” explained his mother. “He made a lot of friends, and I think he realized that school can be a fun place and he really enjoyed his time there.”

Following their time in Stephenville, the Colliers then visited Harambee Camp in British Columbia. Collier says they were contacted by the camp, which specializes in uniting mix-cultured families with other families like them.

“It was amazing, and just what Torrence needed,” she said. “It was just what we all needed.”

The Colliers are back in Stephenville visiting family. Heather says Torrence’s positive experience at the school there has them considering their future and where they will eventually call home.

“I can say it’s definitely a consideration, to move here, or not,” she said.

“We’re really looking at everything, and we want to do what’s best for us and the best for Torrence.”



Organizations: Copper Ridge Academy, Newfoundland and Labrador English School Board

Geographic location: Westport, Baie Verte, Stephenville British Columbia

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