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Teacher disturbed by youth swarming incident at Lower Mainland mall

Bystander shares her experience
Marcia McNaughton was getting a pedicure when she saw several youths searching for another on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. RCMP confirm a youth was assaulted. (Marcia McNaughton, with permission)

Marcia McNaughton was raised not to be a bystander, so when she saw a group of kids going after a boy at a Langley shopping mall Wednesday, she was among those who tried to intervene.

McNaughton was getting a pedicure at the time at Nail Studio in Willowbrook Shopping Centre, and was among those who noticed a group of kids who looked like they were about Grade 8 or 9 and who seemed to be searching the mall.

“They were swearing and running around on their little scooters,” she said. “I kept hearing them say ‘There he is. There he is’.” She had stepped out of the salon and spoke to some youths.

“I was like ‘Hey guys, knock it off… They flipped me the bird and told me to pound sand.”

She returned to the salon but the activity in the mall continued. She put on her shoes and decided to wander out.

She followed the sound of noise. The group had caught up with the youth but scattered when she and others approached. She said a youth looked like he was assaulted.

“There was one kid with a bunch of raspberries on his face. They ripped his shirt. He had about four or five marks on his face,” McNaughton said.

“The kid who took the punches, he wasn’t a tiny kid by any stretch, but when you’re dealing with multiple people you know, he didn’t have a fighting chance literally.

The assailants took off as more people and security started to assemble. Police arrived. McNaughton encountered an RCMP member who asked whether she could identify any of the kids. She said yes and they started going through the mall. When they came across them, the young people bolted.

One of the kids got away but she identified two youths to the cop. McNaughton said the young people started mouthing off – “You can’t do anything. I didn’t do anything.”

“I said ‘Dude, I’m a teacher. I teach high school. I could pick you out of anywhere.”

McNaughton said the parents of the youth attacked arrived and spoke to her.

She was later speaking to staff at the nail salon and other mall staff.

“They said at the mall, this is happening all the time,” McNaughton noted.

She has worked in the public school system with at-risk youth for about 18 years and has a consulting firm. She’s experienced working with people who are autistic and others. McNaughton said she’s never seen youth behaviour as bad as it is today.

“To be honest like this situation, I think was total group mentality and follow-the-leader kind of thing,” she commented. “I did find unfortunately the kids were extremely disrespectful, and I find that a lot more often than I have before.”

McNaughton, the daughter of retired cops said there’s a real lack of respect for authority, for the people stepping in to say this behaviour was inappropriate and towards the police.

“There was no filters and no boundaries, telling everyone of us where to go, how to get there, every profanity, including the kids telling the cops ‘Like you can’t do anything. You can’t touch me’.”

Langley RCMP Cpl. Craig van Herk said the police dealt with an incident at the shopping centre Tuesday afternoon involving alleged assault suspects and a victim, and the investigation has been concluded.

“Officers have spoken with the youths and their parents,” he said.


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Heather Colpitts

About the Author: Heather Colpitts

Since starting in the news industry in 1992, my passion for sharing stories has taken me around Western Canada.
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