Teasing in high school isn’t anything new, but it wasn’t jokes directed at another student that sparked controversy online this weekend.
Brad Firth, also known as Caribou Legs, claims in a Facebook post that he was mocked for his appearance by two non-Aboriginal boys at Sir John Franklin High School Friday.
As of Tuesday morning, the post had been deleted (see screenshots of the post below).
The incident took place near the end of the school day while he was waiting in the school’s front office for a meeting with the school’s principal.
The Gwich’in runner is known for wearing traditional face paint.
Firth previously ran across Canada in support of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
A documentary chronicling his journey will screen in Yellowknife Tuesday night, with proceeds going towards the Yellowknife Women’s Society.
‘Dude you looked me in the eyes and laughed at me’
“I sat in the Sir John Franklin High School office waiting to speak to the principal and noticed these two male students laughing at me through the glass windows [apparently at my appearance],” the Facebook post read.
“So I smiled back and they continued to laugh and I thought well I should call them on their s*** and got up to address their behaviour and they immediately walked away.
“I called them back and asked them in front of a teacher why they were laughing at me, well they denied it and denied it and continued to deny it, I said ‘dude you looked me in the eyes and laughed at me’ and they finally owned their behaviour.”
In his post, Firth said one of the boys started crying after he asked him if he was a ‘mama’s boy’.
Firth then returned to the principal’s office for his meeting, where he was asked to leave the building.
“[The principal] actually had the gall to turn it around and make me the bad guy!” his post read, defending his actions and insisting he was in the right.
“Non-Aboriginal boys who make fun of people’s appearance is violence no matter how you look at. Laughing at others is not acceptable. I hope they learned [a] valuable lesson.”
‘I would categorize it as inappropriate’
The school’s principal, Dean MacInnis, is telling a very different story.
“I would say his perception is certainly how he saw the situation,” MacInnis told Moose FM.
“Now for me following up, there’s some things that did not occur the way they had seemed.”
While he would not give Moose FM details on the incident or the two student’s identities, MacInnis claims that after speaking with the boys and other witnesses along with reviewing video footage, he doesn’t believe the situation unfolded the way Firth insists it did.
“His perception is his perception, I don’t have any issue with that,” he said. “But I would say that the reality of what happened and his perception are not necessarily the same.”
MacInnis says that if Firth felt disrespected, he should have come forward to administration to have the students reprimanded properly.
“That’s how the learning and the correcting would occur,” he explained. “To think that someone can just come into a school and approach it in that way, I would categorize it as inappropriate.”
Firth was scheduled to give a presentation at the school this week. That has since been canceled.
Moose FM reached out to Firth for comment. In an email, he told us: “I would like to put this Sir John Franklin incident behind me. You’ll have to accept that and move on as well.”
The Yukon Supreme Court recently ordered Firth to pay damages for making defamatory statements about his brother-in-law’s role in his sister’s death.
The following was posted by Firth on his Caribou Legs Facebook page Friday afternoon (warning, these posts contain foul language):