Posts Tagged "girl"


Girl with disabilities forced from Playland over mask policy | CBC News

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What was meant to be a fun day at Playland for Bobbie Dube and her seven-year-old daughter, Mikayla, turned out to be a big disappointment when the pair was forced to leave the park because Mikayla can’t wear a mask. 

Mikayla is non-verbal, has autism, and her mother says she needs to use a wheelchair.

Dube, who lives in Burnaby, B.C., had called ahead to book tickets and says when she asked about Playland’s mask mandate, she was told her daughter would not have to wear a mask given her disabilities. 

But after one ride, where the ride operator allowed Mikayla on without a mask, Dube says an attendant at the Vancouver amusement park told them they would be barred from any more rides.

“They proceeded to tell us that no one in the park would allow us to go on any rides because my daughter, who is seven, has special needs and can’t wear a mask,” said Dube. 

The pair’s experience highlights how challenging it can be for people with disabilities to get out and enjoy the simple pleasures in life that those without disabilities enjoy regularly, without planning ahead or worrying about accessibility. 

‘Happens all the time’

Heather McCain, the executive director of Creating Accessible Neighbourhoods (​CAN), says phoning ahead does not always ensure a hassle-free trip. 

“It’s exhausting to have to try to do homework before every trip. And even when you phone a business, such as in this case, you are not given the appropriate information,” McCain said. “And this happens all the time.”

Heather McCain is executive director of the non-profit group Creating Accessible Neighbourhoods. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

In addition to the miscommunication about Mikayla’s need to wear a mask, Dube discovered when they arrived at Playland on Sunday that the park’s ride accessibility program had been suspended due to COVID-19 protocols. The program allowed people who use wheelchairs to access rides using the exit so they didn’t have to wait in line and so they could store their wheelchair. 

But when Mikayla and her mom arrived at the kids’ roller coaster, Dube’s friend had to carry her. 

McCain says when businesses make changes such as those made at Playland, the onus is often placed on people with disabilities to find the flaws in those changes and fight them. 

“Unfortunately, the only way disabled people have power against businesses is to have a human rights complaint,” McCain said. “But that process is expensive, takes several years and is not accessible to many disabled people.”

Dube says she asked the ride attendants to explain why Mikayla was being asked to wear a mask when rules on Playland’s website say exceptions are made for infants or those with medical needs.

She said she was told there is “absolutely no exception.”

Laura Ballance, PNE spokesperson, said Playland does in fact make exceptions to COVID-19 rules that require guests over the age of two to wear a mask on rides and when waiting in line-ups. 

But she added that Playland’s COVID-19 safety plan requires all guests, regardless of whether they have a medical exemption, to wear a mask for the short period of time when an operator is in close contact with the guest while they check restraints and ensure proper riding position. 

Mikayla enjoyed one ride at Playland before she and her mother were told they weren’t allowed on more rides. (Bobbie Dube)

Ballance apologized for the “unintentional stress and anxiety” caused for the family, but said Playland is following COVID protocols. 

“We must adhere to both WorkSafeBC and the provincial health orders for both the protection of our guests as well as our staff,” Ballance said. 

B.C.’s mask mandate exempts people with physical, cognitive or mental impairments who cannot wear a mask.

Dube recalls that nobody stopped them or told them that Mikayla had to wear a mask when they entered the amusement park, went on the first ride, or when they were simply walking around. 

Dube says Mikayla has missed out on so much during the COVID-19 pandemic. While she thought Playland was something fun her daughter could do, it too has been crossed off the list. 


Change needed after funny, smart Indigenous girl died on 17th birthday: report

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Death of Indigenous teen in foster care reminiscent of the fates suffered by residential school students, Children’s Representative says in new report

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Skye’s life began as a mischievous, funny, inquisitive girl who loved fishing and being in nature; it ended years after she was ripped from her Indigenous family and put into foster care, with a fatal overdose on her 17th birthday in 2017.

“She was spunky, outgoing and vivacious, with a zest for life — a child who bubbled with energy. … Skye also struggled with anger rooted in the trauma she experienced as a child,” Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth says in her newest report, Skye’s Legacy: A Focus on Belonging.

“Skye always seemed like she was a hundred years old, even as a little girl. She had a very funny, playful side to her. But she just always seemed like she’d lived a really hard life … She just seemed worn down, like kind of old before her years,” a former social worker told Charlesworth.

The colonialism that led to generations of Indigenous youth being forced into residential schools still influences child protection decisions today, the report says. “(Skye) became part of what many have described as the modern-day residential school: the child welfare system,” Charlesworth told reporters Thursday.


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Skye Crassweller.
Skye Crassweller.

Skye, a member of the Teetlit Gwich’in band in the Northwest Territories, was removed from her family and Dene culture at age five and forced into a traumatic life, a similar fate to the estimated 215 children whose remains have been discovered on the grounds of the former Kamloops Residential School.

“They are different chapters of the same continuing saga — the story of colonialism and the devastating damage it has done, and continues to do, to First Nations, Métis, Inuit and Urban Indigenous children, families and communities,” says the report, released today.

Indigenous children make up more than two thirds of kids in care, but represent just 10 per cent of the provincial population.

Skye Crassweller with her mother Marnie.
Skye Crassweller with her mother Marnie.

Skye’s own mother was removed from her family as an infant as part of the Sixties Scoop, and placed with abusive non-Indigenous adoptive parents, which led to mental health and substance abuse challenges.

With Skye, social workers pursued three unsuccessful adoption attempts, rather than trying harder to keep her connected to family, community and culture — such as by supporting a return to her mother, or placing her with relatives, or letting her stay with a “nurturing” Indigenous foster family, the report says.

“During her nearly 12 years in care, Skye was moved 15 times, lived in eight different foster homes, attended eight schools and had 18 different social workers,” Charlesworth wrote. “Skye wasn’t able to realize the sense of belonging that all humans need and seek.”


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Skye Crassweller.
Skye Crassweller.

While many improvements have been made to the child welfare system since Skye’s birth 20 years ago, the representative continues to see families dismantled because of perceived poor parenting, rather than addressing their vulnerabilities caused by trauma, racism or poverty.

On Thursday, Children and Family Development Minister Mitzi Dean promised, without specifics, to follow through with one of the report’s three recommendations: that all staff read the document to improve care plans for youth. Another recommendation was for a “substantive investment of new resources” by April 2022 to better promote a sense of belonging in First Nations youth; Dean said that request must be discussed in the context of the next provincial budget, but added improving the child protection system has been a priority for her government.

Since being elected in 2017, the NDP has reduced the priority on adoption when it’s not right for some youth and tried to keep more children with extended families, Dean said. “We also know that there is much more to be done to support Indigenous children, youth and families,” she added.

Skye’s mother, Marnie Crassweller, lived for years in supported housing run by the Atira Women’s Resource Society, and became friends with CEO Janice Abbott.

“She was wicked smart, she was articulate, she had just an infectious laugh,” Abbott told Postmedia in 2020. “Marnie never, ever really was able to deal with the trauma of losing Skye. … The system failed Marnie and it failed Skye.”


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Crassweller fatally overdosed in November 2016, and her daughter suffered the same accidental death nine months later, on Aug. 11, 2017, her 17th birthday.

Skye Crassweller with her mother Marnie.
Skye Crassweller with her mother Marnie.

When Skye’s mother, a talented artist, was unable to care for her young daughter, she asked social workers to place her with a Métis friend who was raising Skye’s older sister. But after two years of lifting Skye’s hopes, that plan fell apart, as did two other failed adoption attempts.

Throughout this fractious process, Skye’s trusted relationships with a counsellor and Indigenous foster parents were inexplicably severed, and the Teetlit Gwich’in unsuccessfully asked for adoption to be paused until a band member could be found to take her in, Charlesworth wrote.

Crassweller asked social workers many times to see her daughter, and records indicate Skye wanted to visit her mom, but they never saw each other again after Skye was taken away at age five. “I have always had you in my heart. And I have spent time every day since I last saw you, crying for you,” Crassweller wrote in one letter to Skye.

Skye Crassweller.
Skye Crassweller.

By Grade 8, Skye was skipping school, drinking and cutting herself. She ran away from her foster home, and was in an “exploitive” relationship with an older man. She threatened suicide.

The report documents efforts by social workers to try to connect Skye to help and housing. One sent a note to Skye’s mother, saying her daughter “is desperately seeking a sense of belonging.”

Skye, like all children, just wanted to belong to someone, to belong somewhere. But our child welfare, education and justice systems often “unbelong” children in crisis — removing them from their families, suspending them from school, detaining them in hospitals or youth jails. That, the report urges, must stop.


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Skye Crassweller.
Skye Crassweller.

A youth outreach worker who bonded with Skye at the age of 15, wrote in her notes that Skye was empathetic and had incredible “intelligence and insight” about family, trauma and addictions, and thought she would “make an amazing social worker one day.”

By the fall of 2016, Skye enrolled in an alternative high school, where she made good friends and listed her goals as graduating, getting a job, and “being happy without using drugs.” But those hopes were dashed later that fall by the death of her mother, which caused a grieving Skye to increase her drug use again, the report says.

Skye Crassweller.
Skye Crassweller.

“Both could have had better lives, might have had a lasting relationship with one another and might have had different fates, had they been better supported to deal with past traumas,” Charlesworth said Thursday.

Marnie Crassweller and her 17-year-old daughter Skye Crassweller died nine months apart of overdoses.
Marnie Crassweller and her 17-year-old daughter Skye Crassweller died nine months apart of overdoses. jpg


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Stranger told teen girl ‘your mom sent me,’ police say of suspicious incident in Abbotsford

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Police are looking for witnesses and a suspect following what they’re calling a “suspicious incident” in Abbotsford.

Officers said a 14-year-old girl was waiting to be picked up Friday morning when a driver pulled up to her where she stood on Mouat Drive.

It was reported that the driver said to her, “Your mom sent me. I am here to pick you up.”

The high school student reported that she knew it was untrue, so she turned and walked away.

The driver parked nearby for a short time, Abbotsford police said in a statement later in the day, then drove off, heading east.

The man has been described as South Asian and in his 40s or 50s. He has short, dark hair with some grey, which was gelled back at the time, and his hairline is receding, police said.

They described his face as round and with no facial hair.

The teen told police he had some kind of accent and his English was poor.

The vehicle, which was captured on security camera video, has been described as a grey, four-door sedan with an “N” decal on the back, near the licence plate, suggesting a novice driver uses the vehicle at times.

Anyone in the area around 10:20 a.m. on Friday who may have witnessed the incident or captured dashcam video is asked to contact police. Officers are also looking to speak to anyone who recognizes the vehicle, or has CCTV video.


Abbotsford Police investigate luring incident involving 14-year-old girl

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Police say the driver told her: “Your mom sent me. I am here to pick you up.”

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Abbotsford Police are investigating after a man tried to lure a 14-year-old student into a vehicle.

Police said the incident occurred on Mouat Drive just after 10:20 a.m. on May 7 when a grey sedan pulled up to where the girl was waiting to be picked up and the driver told her: “Your mom sent me. I am here to pick you up.”

The student knew this wasn’t true and walked away.

The driver parked nearby for a short time before leaving, heading eastbound on Mouat Drive.

He is described as South Asian, in his 40’s and 50’s with short dark hair, with grey, that was slicked back with gel, a receding hairline, and round face. The student said the man spoke with an accent.

The vehicle had an “n” on the back beside the license plate.

Police are asking people who witnessed the incident, recognize the vehicle, or have CCTV or dash-cam footage to contact Abbotsford Police at 604-859-5225.


Women passengers rally to protect teenage girl from airplane ‘creep’

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Joanna Chiu is praising the women bystanders and airline staff who helped protect a teenage girl from the man who was harassing her. 

The Star Vancouver bureau chief was on a flight from Toronto to Vancouver when she heard a man behind her complaining about having to sit in the middle seat.

But later, when a teenage girl travelling solo sat next to him, Chiu says the complaints stopped. 

She wrote about the incident on Twitter and in the Star, and told As It Happens guest host Megan Williams what happened next. Here is part of their conversation.

When you were sitting on the plane, what did you hear that made your ears perk up?

I thought it was strange that suddenly he seemed very happy to be where he was in the middle seat, and it seemed like it was because a teenage girl had come up and sat beside him in a window seat.

He kept asking about her school, what she was studying, what she wanted to be when she was older.

It definitely raised some flags, so I started listening pretty carefully.

Right, and then the conversation progressed into a kind of inappropriate area?

He kept saying that, oh, she sounded so smart for her age, and he asked about her favourite foods and he kept saying that, “Oh, I’m going to give you my number, I want you to call me, and I want to take you out to eat.”

She was just ignoring all of this, obviously trying to be friendly, but not wanting to make plans to see him.

It kept going on and on and, eventually, I finally stood up and confronted him because he was asking for a dirty photo from her.

What did he do when you confronted him?

He acted like he didn’t hear me and he just stood up and went to use the washroom in the back of the plane.

And what happened when he was in the washroom?

A woman in a row seated behind them, she acted independently. I don’t think she heard me speaking with him.

Her plan was to talk to the teenage woman directly and check in with her and ask if she was comfortable, and [say] that she was just behind them and available for support if the teen needed it.

The teenage woman looked relieved to be having this support.

After … I went up and grabbed a flight attendant and told a flight attendant about what was happening.

And did they take the complaint or the concern seriously?

I was quite impressed at how quickly they acted.

This is all happening while this man was in the back of the plane in the washroom, and in that time, the flight attendants all worked together and they collected other witness testimonies and they checked in with the teenage girl and they decided to ask the man to move, to leave his seat.

He resisted being moved. He was yelling and shouting. And he was shouting at me, because at this point I was also standing up and watching what was going on. He was swearing at me.

He had asked to see [the flight attendants] higher-up, and she said that, “I’m the boss and this is really serious and we could land the plane if you keep acting this way.”

Is this something you had dealt with when you were younger and traveling alone?

The first time I traveled to Vietnam on a school trip, on the way back … a man next to me was really flirtatious, kind of accusing me of flirting with him when I was confused because I thought I was just having a normal conversation with him.

And the second time I traveled from Montreal, a man actually kissed me without my consent, and I was so shocked I just froze. I was still a teenager at the time.

On Twitter you mentioned you were going to contact this man’s employer to tell them about his actions. Have you had a response? Have you done that?

He told the young woman his name. He also told the woman where he worked. And it’s a pretty big Canadian company, so I’m going to be sending my Twitter thread to to the company and letting them know the details.

And what about the airline? How has it it dealt with this man?

They handled it so professionally, I felt, because they also kept giving me updates about what they were doing. They said they had made a report that they were going to keep a file in this person so they will know the next time he flies.

And when we deplaned, a security official was waiting for him and took him aside. 

And how did he look?

On the plane, when he was being confronted by a bunch of women, he was, like, really dismissive, angry, like trying to aggressively shut us down.

But, you know, when the security guard was talking to him, he looked really nervous.

What do you hope comes out of sharing this story?

I actually struggled whether to share the story because this is something that happened to a teenage girl. I decided to share it and to remove any potentially identifying details because I think this is, in a way, a universal experience of harassment.

So I think it’s partly a public service for people to have this discussion.

Like, what can you do on the plane? What are the special safety risks? And what can bystanders do on public transportation in general when we know sexual harassment happens often?

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Produced by Sarah-Joyce Battersby. Q&A has been edited for length and clarity. 

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