An Angus mum says bullying has made her autistic son ‘terrified’ to go to school.
The pupil is in S1 at one of the region’s secondary schools and his mum says he has been bullied since August.
He attends classes in his school’s additional support needs base alongside his tormentor.
His mother says he has suffered verbal threats where the perpetrator has threatened to kill him and throw chairs at him and physical violence, including being elbowed in the stomach.
Terrified of what might happen each day, her son has made himself sick with worry, she says.
“My son is petrified to go to school,” she told us. “He was off for close to four weeks because he was that scared.
“He got so upset that he didn’t want to go back to school.
“He won’t walk to school on his own because this child said he is going to get him outside of school.”
School bullying is ‘heart breaking’
Like many other parents who responded to our bullying survey, the parent fears her son’s mental health is deteriorating because of the bullying.
She said: “He is very emotional and starts crying and then everybody starts laughing at him. This causes him to get even angrier.
“It is heart breaking. I don’t want my son to hurt himself because the bullies won’t leave him alone.”
Her son has one friend at school and she says removing him from school could cause further setbacks.
“He is not good at making friends and he has had his only friend since primary school.
“I think having to move him to a nearby school would knock his confidence.
“Why should I pull my son out of school when he is not the one bullying?”
Instead, she wants schools and education departments to be able to support pupils who are being bullied by issuing harsher punishments.
She said: “I’ve heard the boy threatening my son when I’ve been on the phone, he is cursing, swearing and saying he is going to kill him.
“But I have had no communication with the school other than to say that they are monitoring the situation.
“There has to be harsher punishments for the bullies. If this kid is in the same class as my son for the next four years, is it ever going to stop?”
‘No school is immune to issues of bullying’
An Angus Council spokeswoman said the local authority cannot comment on individual circumstances.
But in relation to bullying, she said: “All incidents, complaints and allegations of bullying are taken seriously. We advise our young people to report any incidents immediately to staff so they can be investigated and addressed promptly and effectively.
“No school is immune to issues of bullying and none of our schools are complacent in this regard. All of our schools are required to involve and consult the school community in order to devise, publicise and implement a school anti-bullying policy.
“Angus Council, our schools, and specifically our young people, also participated in a joint anti-bullying campaign called ‘ThinkB4UType’ with the NSPCC Scotland and respect me (Scotland’s anti-bullying service) which had a particular focus on online bullying and aimed to raise awareness and educate young people, parents and practitioners about the issue and how to prevent it.”
Anyone who witnesses bullying should report the incidents to a relevant authority, such as teachers, police or parents.
Scotland’s anti-bullying service RespectMe offers guidance for young people who are experiencing bullying and their parents and teachers.
If you feel like the bullying you witnessed at school or online was a hate crime, you can also report it to Police Scotland via 101.
Childline support young people with any worries they may experience, including mental health and bullying.
They can be contacted confidentially on 0800 11 11 or use their free 1-2-1 counselling service.
Read more from our bullying series
- ‘Mummy I just want to die’: Devastating words of Fife girl, 7, after years of bullying
- Bullying in schools: Our survey reveals 9 in 10 parents do not think schools can effectively tackle it
- Bullying advice: How to help children who are being bullied
- Types of bullying: What is classed as physical, sexual and prejudicial bullying?
- Devastating effects of bullying on children in the short and long term
- OPINION: I attempted suicide after years of bullying – schools need to take it seriously
- How to report bullying to the school and police