School bullying led Jessica to the brink
By JULIA ILES firstname.lastname@example.org
WHEN Jessica McArthur swapped the hustle and bustle of Sydney for Grafton, she had no idea teenage hell was awaiting her.
The then 14-year-old was enrolled in Year Nine at a Clarence Valley high school where she was bullied to the point where she considered committing suicide.
"I think they picked on me because I was the new girl and was shy, but I was called horrible names, really severe ones," she said.
"They would throw stuff at me, gang up on me and say they were going to bash me. Once it turned into physical violence and I bit (retaliated) back and they didn't like it at all."
Ms McArthur, now 16, said she used to wag school most days because the teasing became so bad.
She said her mother repeatedly took time off work to talk with school staff about the situation.
"There was detention and stuff like that but no-one goes to detention, I felt let down by the system and was really depressed," Ms McArthur said.
"I was seeing the counsellor a lot and became suicidal for a while."
She left the school seven months later, midway through Year Nine, because of the bullying.
"Even after I left the school I still get called names sometimes when I walk down the street ... before I came to Grafton I didn't have any troubles at my schools in Sydney," Ms McArthur said.
A month later Ms McArthur attended another local school for two weeks and encountered similar problems.
She said in the long-term, the bullying had not affected her life.
"I've managed to get over it and go on, once you have gone through it all you really understand how other students who are bullied feel," she said.
"I'd like to get the word out there and to get people and parents to know that these things go on, it is happening."