A brave pupil attacked on a school bus the day after she learned her granddad had died has spoken out against school bullying.
Kaylynn Donald, 12, was hit and kicked repeatedly as she travelled home from Bell Baxter High School, in Cupar.
Mum Vicky Donald said Kaylynn – restricted afterwards in where she could go and what she could do as she tried to avoid the perpetrators – felt like she was the one punished while they had free rein.
In the wake of a shocking classroom assault at Waid Academy which has brought the issue of violence in schools to the fore, Kaylynn has decided to speak out on behalf of other children suffering bullying and violence in and out of school.
She told us she wanted to share her story to help ensure “it doesn’t happen to as many people as it’s happening to now and the bullies don’t keep getting away with it”.
Given issues Kaylynn was having with some other girls were already being monitored, Vicky called the school to ask staff to keep a closer eye on her daughter when her grandad died of cancer.
But that day two girls set about her on the bus home, as another youngster filming the attack.
The Courier is publishing the video of the incident – blurred to preserve the identity of children in it – with the consent of Kaylynn and her family.
It shows one girl hitting and kicking Kaylynn before another joins in to hit her.
Police Scotland confirmed a 13-year-old girl was reported to the local youth offender manager group in connection with the incident.
For two weeks after the attack Vicky said Kaylynn was escorted around the school by a member of staff, and she was advised against leaving school grounds at lunchtime or being on her own.
Now she wants a say and we are proud of the fact she is standing up to this.”
Mum Vicky Donald
Vicky added: “She was the one that was penalised.
“She felt like she was the one who had done something wrong.”
Vicky also said Kaylynn and her siblings had been taunted afterwards about the video of her attack.
“Now she wants a say and we are proud of the fact she is standing up to this,” her mum added.
Schools, Vicky said, need to take a stronger stance on dealing with bullying.
“No more of this ‘let’s sit down and hold hands and talk about it’ – it’s clearly doing nothing.”
Bell Baxter’s anti-bullying policy states bullying will not be tolerated and all reports will be investigated.
Fife Council does not comment on individual cases in the interests of pupils’ welfare but said sometimes police are alerted to incidents which occur in schools.
Head of education and children’s services Maria Lloyd said: “Bullying in any form is unacceptable and our schools all have systems in place to support children and help them to feel safe.
“However, our school communities know that every bullying incident is different, and every incident can be complex.
“The young people involved have to be our first consideration and we will always work to support them and protect their health and wellbeing.
“Our focus in these cases is to try to work together with young people and their families.
“Sometimes police will also be involved depending on the circumstances, but the wellbeing of our young people will always be at the heart of our bid to resolve these issues.”
Social media can escalate bullying issues, she said, and schools work with young people on responsible use.
She added: “I would like to reassure parents and carers across Fife that we will continue to work with all our school communities to make sure our young people have a positive experience at school and that any incidents of bullying will be dealt with quickly and appropriately.”