A longstanding feud between a group of high school students culminated in serious burns for one girl and an assault conviction for a second, according to a judgement at an unnamed provincial court in B.C.
The court case, released Thursday (June 25), involved a fight between a 14-year-old girl, whose name was withheld as she is a minor, dubbed SH in court documents, and MVT, a 15-year-girl.
The complainant, MVT, and SH, the accused, belong to different friend groups at an unnamed B.C. high school. Students at that high school were either victims or perpetrators of cyberbullying that involved social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, being used to “denigrate, intimidate, or humiliate” others.
“The animosity between the two factions is rooted in a conflict which festered between MVT and SF since MVT entered [the high school] in Grade 8,” court document stated.
According to court documents, the high school was dealing with a series of “bro fights,” defined as “consensual friendly fights” made popular by YouTube. High school administrators considered them unsafe and suspended students involved in the fights.
However, as Judge J.T. Doulis wrote, “the school administrators had limited jurisdiction to deal with the communications if they occurred off … premises.”
The teenage feuds at the high school boiled over in December 2018. The school’s vice principal had suspended four girls on Dec. 1o for engaging in a lunch-hour bro fight, and held an all-school assembly the next day.
During that assembly, SH’s friend sent her a Snapchat message that some girls were talking and laughing about her. SH then left the assembly to speak to the vice-principal to complain about MVT. The vice-principal later testified that SH had wanted to “kick MVT’s ass.”
Once SH had calmed down, the vice-principal released her to go to class. However, court documents show SH instead went to her locker, got a cup of noodles and took it to be filled with boiling water by the school administrative assistant.
She then went to the bathroom. About 30 seconds later, MVT entered the bathroom and headed for the stalls. Court documents state that SH laughed at MVT about her “ugly face.” SH then pulled out her phone, leading MVT to ask why she was filming her.
“Because you’re so ugly and I just wanted to show everyone how ugly you were … your whole family’s ugly,” SH said, sending a Snapchat to a friend, urging her to come to the bathroom.
MVT then tried to begin recording, leading SH to start as well.
The girls exchanged a series of insults before SH put down her phone, opened her cup noodles, and threw them at MVT, who dropped her phone.
Court documents state there is “yelling and crashing and thumping” before the friend is heard yelling at MVT “get off her.” The video ends with a teacher asking what was going on and shutting off the phone that was recording the incident.
MVT was then taken to hospital by ambulance. Later that evening, she described the bathroom fight to a friend.
“I went to the bathroom and that stupid [SH] girl was in there and was saying these things under her breath, so I got in her face. And it was like recording what she was saying and what I was saying and I told her to f*** off, and she threw like her boiling noodles at my chest and it hurt but I was so mad, and I ran at her, and I hit her head on the floor like how many times because she tried to get out and now, I have second degree burns.”
In court proceedings however, MVT denied being aggressive towards SH or that she had pushed her head to the floor more than a couple time.
For her part, SH said she was scared of MVT in the bathroom and got “triggered and triggered and triggered and triggered.” She also said she had no memory of throwing the noodles at MVT, saying she “blacked out.”
Court documents state that MVT suffered second and third degree burns on her upper torso, requiring skin grafts and leaving her with significant scarring.
In his judgement, Doules wrote that he accepted the Crown’s argument that throwing the hot noodles was not “a pre-emptive strike” in defence of herself.
“Rather, I find she did so as an offensive strike because she was angry and frustrated at MVT’s harangue,” he wrote.
Doules also did not accept the defence’s argument that the hot noodle SH threw at MVT were “simply food,” and thus not a weapon. He said that the throwing of the hot noodles was “disproportionate” to any level of threat SH may have felt.
Doules found SH guilty of assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon.
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