Daunting school taunts hit home
SARA BOND has an above-average IQ, plays the guitar and dreams of being a marine biologist.
It's hard to imagine this quietly-spoken 14-year-old causing offence, but she has stayed home from school for at least 10 days this year in order to avoid the taunts of bullies.
“Sometimes people tease me because I get the right answer in class; they tell me to shut up,” she said. “I try to ignore them, but it's hard.”
Sarah said she wished bullies knew how it felt to be on the other side.
Sarah's mum, Michelle Bond, said she worried about her daughter and wished the bullying would stop.
But things got worse this week, she said.
“The bullying these kids are dealing with these days is a problem that doesn't just stop in the playground. Sarah has told me it's happened in the school bus and through her phone,” she said. “The text messages she received this week are really serious and there was one threat against her life. It's really scary.”
Mrs Bond said she could always tell when her daughter had been bullied at school, but said Sarah didn't always talk about it.
“She just gets quiet and I know something has happened,” she said.
Sarah said it wasn't easy to talk about the bullying to her friends, the school counsellor or her family.
“It's hard to talk about it, but it always seems to help when I do,” she said.
Manager of relationship services at Interrelate, Thea Keane, said bullying could be defined as 'any instance where someone intimidates or hurts another person or a group of people'.
“Bullying is definitely not restricted to the schoolyard,” she said.
The Northern Star has launched a campaign to stamp out bullying and would welcome your story, or your ideas on how best our community should tackle the problem.
Your school counsellor: www.bullyingnoway.com.au; Kids Help Line: 1800 55 1800
For employees: http://www.reachout.com.au;
For employers: http://www.mentalhealth.asn.au/resources/work- place_bullying
Bullying within the family or between partners:
Interrelate Family Centres: 6621 4970; Family Relationship Centre: 6622 7003.
Bullying on the sports field: www.ausport.gov.au (Follow the links to bullying)
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Phone 6624 3266 or SMS 0428 264 948 or add your comments below.