Mikael Damkier

Bullied boy forced to change schools

NINE months of verbal and physical abuse from schoolyard bullies has seen one Warwick student ditch the public school system, in fear of his safety.

The Year 10 student, who did not want to be named, started at Warwick State High School last year, but claimed he was brutally bullied from day one.

Despite a number of meetings with the school, the student's mother and stepfather claimed nothing had been done to address the situation which saw their son come home from school every day frightened, bruised and psychologically damaged.

"(School authorities) just fobbed it off and dished out all these empty promises," the stepfather said.

He said the school principal assured them procedures would be put in place to try and solve the issue.

"He was put into isolation, in a room away from the bullies at lunch times, where he couldn't see his friends, couldn't play outside," the stepfather said.

"Instead of punishing the bullies, it's like they're punishing him."

The victim's mother said she was absolutely distraught her son had to put up with the torment.

"He has had suicidal thoughts and the school is well aware of that," she said.

"I've had to take him to counselling, and they know that.

"He can no longer ride his bike to school because it has been tampered with, so now I have to arrange with a friend to drop him off and I pick him up at 3.15pm or the other way around because I have to work too."

A good looking, bright, well-mannered 14-year-old, the only reason his family can see he gets bullied, is that the perpetrators themselves are bored, untameable "grubs".

"I've been told (the principal) has witnessed our son being beaten and would not intervene," the stepfather said.

"(The principal's) words to me were 'if I saw a student being beaten by another student, I would not intervene because of my own welfare and I would not expect my staff to either'.

"I was shocked to hear that. I think they're just too scared.

"You mention the word 'gang' and they just deny that there is anything like that happening at their school, but there is."

The student said he once counted seven teachers nearby when he was beaten on one particular occasion, and not one intervened.

He said on an occasion where one did, a female teacher was hit by a student.

"He was trying to get to me, but she wouldn't let him and so he hit her," the boy said.

"Then she was sent home sick."

The boy then retaliated and punched the perpetrator - landing him a two-day suspension.

His mother said she was proud her son stood up for what he believed in, that a man should never hit a woman, but was upset it had had to come to this.

She said due to the school's lack of ability to curb the problem, they were forced to remove their son from WSHS.

"Now we have to pay higher fees to send him to a private school because this public school just isn't safe," she said.

Warwick State High School principal Cheryl Bullion said school authorities were doing their best to control the problem.

"Any claims of bullying are taken very seriously and teachers take appropriate disciplinary action, including the potential for suspension and exclusion," Mrs Bullion said.

"The safety and welfare of students is the highest priority of Warwick State High School.

"If parents have any concerns, they are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss them."