‘Everyone failed my son’: Mother of slain Hamilton teen speaks out about bullying

Devan Selvey‘s life was cut short in all aspects: he was afraid to go to school and tired of bullies, and his mother appeared to be the only one in his corner as he battled through life as a 14-year-old boy.

“He lost all opportunities. He’s never going to grow up. He’s never going to get married. He’s never going to know what it’s like to be a father,” Selvey’s mother, Shari-Ann Selvey, said.

Selvey was fatally stabbed in front of his mother outside Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School on Monday. She said he was taunted, chased around the corner, sprayed with what is believed to be bear mace and then stabbed in the back while trying his best to get into her car and escape to safety.

READ MORE: Candlelight vigil for high school murder victim to be held Wednesday

“When he called me to say that they were bothering him at the school, I went over there and then my life fell apart,” Shari-Ann said, trying to hold back tears.

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“Everyone failed my son — even I did. I tried to save him and I couldn’t. I couldn’t get to him in time.”

Two teens have been arrested in connection with Devan’s death, a 14-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man. The suspects are facing first-degree murder charges.

READ MORE: Murdered teenager Devan Selvey’s funeral to be held Saturday

Two other teens were arrested Tuesday, but Hamilton police said they were released without being charged and under no conditions.

“I haven’t slept. I haven’t eaten. Every time I close my eyes it’s there, so I don’t close my eyes,” Shari-Ann said.

“If I don’t close my eyes, I can’t relive it.”

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Since Devan’s death, questions have been raised surrounding what the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) did and didn’t do to address the family’s concerns about bullying. Shari-Ann said numerous complaints were made and a friend of the family lodged a complaint with police.

Manny Figueiredo, the HWDSB’s director of Education, said all of the information is being provided to police. But he would not comment on how the board responded to the complaints, citing an ongoing investigation.

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“Bullying doesn’t happen in the isolation of the school and I keep reminding people bullying is becoming more complex especially with the digital world because we know from the research bullying is prevented when A) there’s an adult present and B) when bystanders stand up, and we need to continue to work through that,” Figueiredo explained.

READ MORE: Family remembers Hamilton teen fatally stabbed outside high school as ‘sweet,’ ‘kind’ boy

HWDSB officials encouraged anyone with information about not just Devan’s murder, but bullying in general, to contact police and the school board so that every potential lead can be followed up.

Shari-Ann encouraged people to standup when bullying occurs.

“More people need to stand up and stop being bystanders. There’s no such things as rats anymore. My son was a toothpick and he stood up for people,” she said..

READ MORE: Police ‘unconditionally’ release two suspects in fatal Hamilton high school stabbing

Those who loved the 14-year-old said they are heartbroken that such a good boy full of life and admiration for others seemingly fell between the cracks.

“Why was I the only person that had his back?” Shari-Ann said.

A vigil is scheduled to be held for Devan Wednesday evening.

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