THE EDITOR: My child is being severely bullied. I need help.
When my daughter was about six years old she fell at school and broke her arm. She told me a boy had pushed her, but that she believed it was an accident.
Prior to that she had been complaining that a boy in her class would hit her several times a day. She would complain to the teacher, and the teacher would put him into the naughty corner. This continued for several years, but I believed it was all minor, as she never cried, and played it off well.
In Standard Two, however, things escalated. The same boy now had amassed a small gang of boys who would help him bully other children.
One day one of the boys was harassing my daughter as usual and threw something of hers out the classroom window to the field below. She retaliated and threw something of his. The boy got angry and attacked her. Three other boys jumped in to help him beat my daughter.
During the scuffle she was beaten across the stomach with a full one-litre bottle of water. This caused her to throw up. She did it into her own water bottle and threw it at them, and that’s how she escaped.
She was suspended along with the four boys for the remainder of the term. Now in Standard Three she is in a class with three boys from the same group. They torment her daily, throwing her belongings onto the roof, into the bin, hitting her on her arms and legs and smashing her fingers onto her desk. She complains several times a day to her teacher, but her teacher is at her wit’s end.
The last straw for me was on Monday when I sent her to school after keeping her home the week before because she was unwell. The usual torture started up and she decided to report it directly to the principal. She didn’t get to see the principal because he was in a meeting, but three boys had followed her to the office.
On her way back to her class one of the boys pushed her down a flight of stairs, and she sprained her ankle. The injury was minor, but I can’t help imagining how much worse it could have been.
That boy’s parents were called, but now my daughter refuses to go back to school. She cries and says that nothing will change, as the boy’s parents had been called in before, and nothing changed. She says that even when the boys get suspended they come back even worse.
She says the boy who pushed her has threatened to kill her, burn her house down and kill everyone in it. She is now suffering from intense headaches, which she says come on every time she thinks of or sees those boys.
I can’t even fit all of the torment she has endured into this letter. I’m seeking a transfer for her, but I have already been turned down three times. The principals of other schools say there is just no room, they just can’t help me.
I’m not really in a position to afford a private school. I just don’t know what to do anymore, but I don’t want to send her back to school when I fear for her physical and mental safety. What are my options, please?