Bully made death threats
IT has taken all Peter’s strength to not simply punch his nemesis in the face and be done with it.
He has endured months of snide remarks, outright insults, homophobic put-downs, irritating hair-pulling and confrontational taunts at school and in open public places.
But Peter, not his real name, says he doesn’t believe in violence.
“It solves nothing,” said the 16-year-old pacifist, who added it may even lead to him getting into some kind of trouble.
Some of Peter’s complaints were acted upon by his school and his tormentor was suspended. But within weeks of the boy returning to school his menacing behaviour continued.
But Peter’s nightmare didn’t end at the school bell, he was harassed in public streets and shopping centres and even on his own computer when the bully started a war of words one night.
The tormentor went into great detail about exactly how he would assault and kill Peter.
Peter logged off, printed out the exchange and showed his father who took the threatening conversation to Grafton police.
Peter said police claimed they were helpless to act because the threatener was under 18 and could not be brought before the courts unless a serious assault had taken place.
Despite the fact that an obvious verbal assault occurred and Peter was now paranoid about being sideswiped every time he was in public, the best police could do was offer to visit the bully and issue a warning.
Acting upon independent legal advice, Peter’s father applied for an Apprehended Violence Order through Grafton Local Court.
Peter doesn’t want details of the ‘cyber-bullying’ made public because his aim in coming to The Daily Examiner, he said, was not to shame and ridicule his tormentor, but to raise awareness about the problem of bullying in our schoolyards and beyond especially in light of the tragic stabbing death of a 13-year-old boy in a Queensland school this week.
News reports indicated the alleged offender may have been the victim of bullying.
Peter’s ordeal is indicative of the type of abuse children across the country are experiencing every day.
As Peter said: “You never know when someone can snap” and he’s aware that the ‘snap’ doesn’t have to be retaliation.
It can also be severe depression, violence against other innocents and even suicide.
After one of his confrontations with the bully, Peter said he was shaking and almost brought to tears.
“I just want people to understand how their actions affect others,” he said.
Peter said he was lucky in the sense he, unlike many victims of bullying, was not physically afraid of this bully, but saw no reason to come to blows. Much of the schoolyard bullying, he said, went unreported.
Mates for long haul
By Anna Vlastaras
ST MARY’S Primary School in Grafton works actively against bullying.
Action is being implemented through a series of training days with staff, students and parents. The long-running peer support program that involves children teaching and helping younger kids has introduced a new module on bullying.
St Mary’s principal Lynne Pull said the time was right.
“We have had anti-bullying policies long before the unfortunate events we saw in Brisbane this week,” she said.
“We have never had any serious issues with bullying, and we hope that we will prevent the possibility of issues arising,” she said.