‘They have been called wogs, kicked, and their lunch has been stolen’
AN angry father says his daughters have been forced into counselling because their exclusive Gold Coast private school failed to tackle relentless bullying and threats of violence.
The father of two said he was moved to speak out after reading in the Bulletin yesterday a desperate mother’s cry for help to stop bullies threatening to stab her son to death because “no one is listening”.
“The behaviour is at the point where I am taking a stand,” the father said. “Evil prospers when we do nothing.
“They have been called wogs, one has been kicked and their lunch has been stolen.
“They are just kids. Like sponges, they started to soak up everything, feeling worthless. They started to feel they had no purpose. Thank goodness I recognised it before their self-esteem and dignity went out the window.”
The father said he had had a number of conversations with his daughters’ school, Aquinas College, and was brought to tears last week when he heard
they were being pushed to “commit” by other children.
“The girls have been told the will be made to ‘commit’, as in commit suicide,” the father said.
He had not informed the school of the latest claims.
Aquinas principal Peter Hurley said the school would investigate all claims of bullying.
“Bullying is not tolerated at Aquinas College and our policy makes this abundantly clear,” Mr Hurley said.
“As soon as we are made aware of a potential bullying incident, it is investigated and action taken.
“If we don’t know about bullying, we cannot respond so we actively and genuinely encourage students and their parents or caregivers to contact us.
“It’s extremely disturbing to hear that children may be making comments to other children, encouraging them to selfharm and, of course, as soon as this type of thing becomes known to the college, our first action is to always prevent, deescalate and stop any harmful behaviour.”
A mother of a student at Coombabah High School yesterday told the Bulletin she had been forced to keep her 13year-old boy at home because of constant bullying.
She said the school told her they would monitor the situation and suggested he should move to another school if he felt unsafe.
Ben Brauer, president of New Beginnings, a Gold Coastbased at-risk children’s advocacy group, said drastic change was needed if parents were to be satisfied that their children were safe.
“This needs to be tackled at the ministerial level to create real change,” said Mr Brauer, who has worked with vulnerable youth for 21 years.
“Sadly, the State Government under either party seem to want to try their own solutions every three years. It’s reelection syndrome.
“We’ve found that talking to the Education Department directors, deputy directors does not bring in the changes that are needed.”
Mr Brauer said bullying was one of the big problems facing youth on the Gold Coast and was exacerbated by the transient population.
“The issue of disenfranchised children is exacerbated here largely because people move here in droves and leave behind their social networks.
“It has been the case since I started. A lot of people don’t realise the disconnect that happens. They have no one to fall back on.
“Schools are overburdened with syllabus and are flat out running all they are tasked to run, children fall between the cracks.
“Our aim is to stop teen bullying and violence before it starts.
”If we can keep one child out of the justice system or needing medical support we can save the government millions.”