Bathurst – Two mothers from Bathurst who have campaigned tirelessly for improved student transportation in the wake of their son’s deaths in the Boys in Red tragedy are disgusted with a decision made by the District 15 Superintendent, John McLaughlin, to allow Dream Street Pictures to use the facilities of Bathurst High School as a set for the film “The Phantoms.”
They say they majority of the victims’ parents are against the film and the Minister of Education Jody Carr is ignoring their pain and suffering by allowing District 15 to lend the use of its facilities for the movie. They say they were informed today in a phone call by an employee of the Department and they challenge the District 15 Superintendent, John McLaughlin, to meet with them face to face instead of sending his subordinates to do his dirty work.
“They are tormenting us with this film,” said Ana Acevedo whose 17 year old son Javier Acevedo was killed along with six other boys from the Bathurst High School Phantoms basketball team in January 2008. “They keep telling to move on but the mere thought of a movie being filmed in Bathurst is making us relive the tragedy over again.”
“We want to live in peace, but we can’t because this film is just bringing up all those bad memories,” said Isabelle Hains, whose son Daniel was also killed in the Bathurst tragedy.
“It will just glorify the deaths of our sons and completely ignore the reality that the Department of Education and the government of New Brunswick are responsible for what happened on January 12, 2008,” Hains said.
Hains and Acevedo say the majority of parents and the victims families object to the film. “I have spoken to nearly all the parents and everyone is against this film,” said Acevedo. “And it’s not just we parents, but the brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, other relatives and friends who are strongly opposed to this movie,” said Acevedo.
“We are wondering if the decision was made in part because there will be actors playing the roles of some of the major characters in the story, including government employees such as District Superintendent, John McLaughlin,” said Hains. “We wonder if they will profit from the production?”
Hains and Acevedo have made a Right to Information request today to Minister of Education Jody Carr and Minister of Wellness, Culture and Sport, asking pointed questions about the series of events leading up to the decision to give Dream Street Pictures one quarter of a million dollars of tax payers money.
Hains said they have been in contact with Kevin Lacey, Atlantic Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, who agrees this is a wasteful use of taxpayer’s money. She expects the Federation to be commenting on the film early next week.
“I have been receiving phone calls and emails from people in the community and around the country who are outraged at the insensitivity of the fillmakers, the government, the District Superintendent, and the Mayor who have fallen for the Dream Street Pictures line that this will help the community to heal. All this is doing is opening up old wounds and making our lives miserable.”
The mothers vow that this is not the end of the Dream Street story. “They say that there is nothing we can do to stop this film,” says Acevedo, “But they don’t know who they are dealing with. We who have lost our sons have nothing to lose in fighting this movie.”