Shari-Ann Bracci-Selvey, centre, fights back tears at a vigil for her 14-year-old murdered son, Devan Selvey, at his high school, Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School, In Hamilton, Ont., Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston

Mother of slain Hamilton, Ont. teen says ‘everyone’ failed her son

Shari-Ann Bracci-Selvey broke down in tears as she spoke to reporters for the first time since her son Devan died

A mother who witnessed her son being stabbed to death outside his high school broke her silence on Wednesday, blaming the system for failing to protect the 14-year-old from the “bullies” she said made his first month of school a nightmare.

Shari-Ann Bracci-Selvey broke down in tears as she spoke to reporters for the first time since her son Devan died near Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in Hamilton on Monday afternoon.

Another 14-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man are currently facing first-degree murder charges in his death, which police have described as premeditated.

Bracci-Selvey spared no one when describing who was responsible for her son’s death, saying everyone — from the school he attended to his own family — let him down.

“Everyone failed my son,” she said. “Even I did. I tried to save him and I couldn’t.”

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board Education Director Manny Figueiredo confirmed the school had received complaints about bullying against Devan, but did not provide details.

“As a board, we will also conduct a formal review of our Safe Schools practices when the police and school investigations are complete,” he said in an emailed statement Wednesday. He said the community was still “in shock” and “trying to make sense of what happened.”

Figueiredo previously said the accused in the case are either past or present students at Sir Winston Churchill.

Bracci-Selvey said her son had been viciously bullied since the second day of the school year, when tormentors allegedly stole his bike. He had been harassed ever since, she said.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Hamilton Police Det.-Sgt. Steve Bereziuk said the family had filed a report about the stolen bike last month. He added the accused in that case are not the same teens now facing murder charges.

Bracci-Selvey said Devan missed a lot of classes, either by outright refusing to go to school or calling her asking to be picked up early.

She did not say if such a call was what brought her to the school Monday afternoon, but said she has yet to come to terms with ”the horror” she witnessed firsthand.

“I haven’t slept, I haven’t eaten — every time I close my eyes it’s there,” she said through tears. “So if I don’t close my eyes, I can’t relive it.”

Bracci-Selvey said her son was not the only target of the bullying, and often shielded his friends who faced similar harassment.

An obituary for the teen describes a boy with a “passion for old cars, video games and a loving heart for animals.”

Hamilton police had previously arrested four people in connection with his death, but later released two 16-year-olds without charges.

Bereziuk declined to say why the charges that police expected to be laid against those teens were abandoned.

He confirmed, however, that the 14-year-old boy is believed to have been the one wielding the knife that killed Devan. The identity of the adult suspect is protected by a publication ban, while the name of the 14-year-old cannot be released under the terms of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Bereziuk said the investigation remains active, noting investigators have not yet spoken to Devan’s mother in an effort to allow her to cope with her pain.

“I’m not going to push her right now,” he said. ”I can’t imagine what she’s going through, so I’m going to give her a lot of rope. And when she’s available to contact me and sit down and meet, then my door’s open.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Princeton RCMP sergeant kills cougar threatening residential neighborhood

An RCMP officer shot and killed a cougar, close to a residential… Continue reading

Pilot project approved: Penticton to allow alcohol in outdoor spaces

For almost two hours, council debated the proposed pilot project, before eventually passing it 4-2

Osoyoos Desert Centre prepares for reopening

The 67-acre nature interpretive facility opens June 6

Curbside reads available as Okanagan libraries reopen

Okanagan Regional Library reopened June 2 in phased approach

Shoppers line up hours early for reopening of Penticton’s Care Closet Thrift Store

The not-for-profit thrift store supports several local organizations and charities

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Drugs, machete found in truck with stolen plate driven by Salmon Arm man

Chase RCMP arrest driver and have vehicle towed

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Top cop calls video of Kelowna Mountie striking suspect ‘concerning’

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

HERGOTT: Can you get money back if COVID-19 disrupts plans?

Paul Hergott is a personal injury lawyer based in West Kelowna

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Most Read