Student a ‘hermit’ after bullying

CONCERNED PARENTS: Angry about bullying at Casino High school are rear from left, Alex Killiby, Greg Killiby, and Connie Scholl, and front from left, Anne (last name withheld), Monica Killiby, and Sharon Gill, all of Casino.
CONCERNED PARENTS: Angry about bullying at Casino High school are rear from left, Alex Killiby, Greg Killiby, and Connie Scholl, and front from left, Anne (last name withheld), Monica Killiby, and Sharon Gill, all of Casino. DAVID NIELSEN
A GROUP of parents at Casino High has banded together to demand action on bullying they say is ‘rife’ within the school.

The five parents, one of whom has removed their daughter from the school due to bullying, say the bullies go unpunished while the victims are left without support.

Connie Scholl took her child out of the school at the end of Year 7 after she became a ‘hermit’ as a result of bullying.

“She lasted the year out and I changed schools and she hasn’t had a problem since,” Ms Scholl said.

“She was told she was the problem.

“She was traumatised to the extent she was a hermit last year.”

The extra money spent on private schooling was worth it, Ms Scholl said.

Although, she added: “I go broke keeping them at a private school”.

Anne, who did not want her surname published, has two children at Casino High and said if she could afford to send them to a private school, she would.

“If I had another option I would, but I couldn’t afford the private school,” she said.

Anne said bullying was a major problem throughout the school.

“It’s very rampant up there,” she said.

And she thought the problem started with the school management.

Monica Killiby has taken her concerns directly to the NSW Department of Education and wants a formal investigation into the school.

“They have a duty of care towards these kids and they’re failing,” she said.

“It is mental torture. It is abuse. It starts right at the top with the headmaster.

“Other kids are being allowed to bully kids and are not being reprimanded.”

Mrs Killiby said one of her boys was suspended for being involved in an altercation where he was the victim.

The school, she said, was ‘in crisis’.

Fellow parent Sharon Gill is also worried.

“I’ve got two girls up there now and they’ve been put through the ringer,” she said.

The parents’ other concerns include:

  • Teachers singling out students in front of other students by yelling or screaming at them;
  • Records are not being kept of all instances of bullying, and;
  • Bullying being ‘swept under the carpet’.

But most of the parents The Northern Star spoke to also pointed out there were some good teachers at the school.

“There are a couple of good staff members there,” Mrs Killiby said.

Casino High, which has around 850 enrolled students in Years 7 to 12, has hit back at the allegations.

Through a NSW Education Department spokesman, the school management denied bullying was ‘rife’.

So far this year, it had seven recorded cases of bullying at the school.

There were 17 recorded cases last year and nine cases in 2007.

“Teachers follow the school’s newly reviewed welfare and anti-bullying policy exactly as it appears on the school’s website: no bullying is tolerated, all students are dealt with completely fairly in a highly professional manner, and all necessary records are properly kept,” the school said.

The school advised unhappy parents to discuss their concerns with the school first.

“If parents are dissatisfied with the school’s handling of a matter they (are) strongly encouraged to discuss the matter with the school, and if they are still dissatisfied, are referred to welfare consultants or other senior staff at the District office of the NSW Department of Education and Training.”

The school also rejected suggestions it failed to keep records of all bullying instances.

“The school records all bullying cases as a matter of course as part of its welfare and discipline process and policy,” the school said.

Are you aware of cases of bullying that have gone unresolved? Leave your comments below.

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