Strange twist in Marshall Brooks story

Note to readers: This is a blog. Many of the postings here can be classified as rants, opinion pieces. The information below comes from primary sources and reliable news sources. If you have information that challenges what’s written here, please provide it. I welcome constructive criticism but I refuse to publish defamatory and insulting comments.

A few months ago his brutal lunchtime beating made headlines. Marshall Brooks is a 17-year-old student at Westwood Senior High School in Hudson, Quebec. He’s the son of my friend Tina Brooks. Considering the severity of a beating he suffered, he’s been healing well. But who knows what will happen now that the school and school board have stepped in with what seems to be a misguided “solution.”

In April Marshall’s whole life changed when he was attacked during lunch hour just outside school grounds. For months another boy at the school accused  Marshall of having stolen something of his and said Marshall owed him money. When Marshall didn’t pay up, he was reportedly invited by the accuser to a fight. The day of the fight Marshall was caught unawares but classmates were alerted about the “event” through Facebook, Twitter (and probably through texts). From what I understand of what happened, Marshall was escorted against his will to the fight by the accuser’s friends. When challenged to fight Marshall reportedly put his hands in his pockets though apparently he did hit his attacker once.

The attacker was far bigger than Marshall and one of his blows shattered the orbital floor around Marshall’s left eye, his cheekbone was broken in two places. Bystanders reported hearing a “crunch” sound when Marshall eye socket was destroyed.

While more than 50 classmates looked on, many used their phones to videotape the fight (some posted it online). Only one student dared phone 911 though this was not mentioned in early reports about the incident.

Marshall had to have reconstructive surgery and there’s now a metal plate replacing part of his eye socket. It’s still too early to know what’s happening with the eyesight in his left eye, whether he’s suffered neurological damage or will experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the fight.

Only the attacker has ever been charged in the incident.

What did Westwood High and the Lester B. Pearson School Board do? Three weeks before graduation  they order Marshall and everyone else involved to attend some YMCA workshops.

This would mean Marshall would have to sit with the very classmates who did nothing and with the people who escorted him to the fight to learn about how students should take action when they see someone being hurt.

His mother, Tina Brooks, has said she’s concerned Marshall will be suspended if he refuses to attend the YMCA workshops. He had a doctor’s note to miss the first one but who knows what will happen next.

It’s too bad the school board didn’t invite Barbara Coloroso to address the students. For a situation like this you need someone who understands the dynamics of schoolyard fights and the way high school students think.

I don’t know much about the YMCA’s workshops. I don’t think telling teenagers to be nice to one another is going to cut it. And why would you expect the victim to participate?

This morning Tina Brooks spoke to CBC Radio Montreal’s Daybreak show, as did a commissioner from the Lester B. Pearson School Board. I will link to the interviews as soon as they’re posted.

UPDATE: You’ll find the interviews here.

4 thoughts on “Strange twist in Marshall Brooks story

  1. Ok,
    1. Marshall knew the fight was on and showed up anyways.

    2. The issue was drugs, which unfortunately will come out if the defendant appears in court.

    3. A student ran into the school to inform staff that a fight was happening, but it was too late to stop the damage since it took less than 2 minutes.

    4. If you don’t know what the YMCA workshop was about, why belittle it.

    5. In our community we know the events and circumstances surrounding this, which haven’t been related to the press.

    6. How can you Blog responsibly, without bias, when you’re friend?

    Don’t have to post this. Just answering your challenge.

    1. My comments about the tone of the YMCA workshops are based on information Lester B. Pearson chair Suanne Stein Day gave during her interview with Mike Finnerty on CBC Daybreak.

      I have read articles by Barbara Coloroso on bullying and intimidation. As I understand her, she does not recommend putting the person who was attacked in the same room as the attacker(s). That reasoning could also extend to onlookers who filmed the fight or people who allegedly intimidated Marshall.

      If there is indeed a drug problem at the school there is more than one guilty party. Where is the school and the school board on this? My son’s high school has a zero tolerance policy on drugs.

      Why does the school allow students to use smartphones, Blackberries etc.? My son’s high school forbids them on school grounds. My son’s high school has rules about behaviour even off school grounds.

      It’s apparently easy to shatter someone’s orbital floor and I’ve been told fist fights, blows involving hands are incredibly dangerous since a blow landing in the wrong place can kill. I was told wrestling would be safer. Is it normal in 2012 to settle disputes in this way? I don’t think in this situation the two main people involved were equals. I was told Marshall was intimidated by the two or three people who escorted him to the fight. I wasn’t there so I am reporting what I was told and heard. I’ve seen sections of the video as well and I think it would be hard to argue this was a fight between equals. I don’t think anyone deserves to have a titanium plate replace part of their eye socket, stitches on the eyelids of both eyes, and possibly damaged vision, possible neurological repercussions long term.

      I’m allowed to write about this even if I’m not from Hudson. The story was national news.

      I’m also allowed to write about my friends. My opinion pieces reflect my point of view. You find I’m biased. You are welcome to start a blog of your own to air your views.

  2. I have to agree with the blogger on this. Where was the school on this, the board, putting them in all the same room just makes Marshall feel small and intimidated. Not a good choice by the school or the board.

  3. Jeffery Spears.
    This is Marshall Brooks and Even if you dont read this
    id like to clairify i was forced to that fight by three kids whom are Bigger than my “attacker”
    and all three of which you can see in this video
    Don’t say that people did anything so “concretely” unless you know 100% that its fact.

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