Belfast Telegraph

Police probe anti-Semitic assault on teen by fellow pupil at Co Antrim school

By Lindsay Fergus

A pupil with special educational needs was brutally assaulted at school in a race hate attack.

His attacker was only suspended from school for two days after the terrifying ordeal that has left the 14-year-old away from the classroom for more than a week.

But staff at Carrickfergus College, who it is claimed waited two hours before contacting the victim’s mother, never revealed to her that her son — who has Asperger’s syndrome — had been kicked in the head.

It was only 12 hours later when Sharon Lough took her son Matthew to A&E complaining of a headache that it came to light that he had suffered concussion and suspected unconsciousness.

Matthew — who also has sensory processing disorder — has been so traumatised by the ongoing anti-Semitic bullying that he is off school.

The PSNI has confirmed it is investigating reports of an assault on March 14 at North Road, where the college is situated.

Mrs Lough explained: “Last year when they were studying the Holocaust, Matthew said his great-grandmother was Jewish and the bullying started then. They were putting swastikas inside his schoolbooks. However, the school jumped on it and the main lad responsible was suspended for a couple of days and it seemed to die down.” But last autumn the bullying resumed with Matthew allegedly being taunted with names like ‘Jew boy’.

“Matthew got very upset about it. As you can imagine — having Asperger’s syndrome — he does not cope very well and they can see it pushes his buttons,” said Mrs Lough.

Last month the bullying took a sinister twist. Mrs Lough claimed: “One pupil was spoken to by a teacher after she heard him singing a song about Jews being gassed by Hitler. Later that afternoon the lad shoved Matthew against the wall and spat at him because he had been put in detention.

“Matthew reported that, and as it was late in the afternoon the staff member said he would speak to the pupil the next day.

“However, before he got a chance to do so, Matthew sent me a message at 9.30am saying he had been attacked.

“I got a call from the school at 11.30am to say there had been ‘an incident’ and Matthew had a lump on his head.

“I was told it would be good for him to be in class. We thought it was not a big issue.”

It was only when Mrs Lough arrived at the school that she discovered Matthew — who had a grazed lump on his head — had been viciously attacked.

“I was told the pupil was kicking Matthew around the head as he lay in the corridor, curled up in a ball with his hood over his head. The teacher told him to stop and the pupil stepped over Matthew and kicked him in the head.”

As Matthew started to provide snippets of information and complained about a headache, his concerned parents decided at around 9.30pm to take him to A&E.

“They ran tests and asked him questions,” explained Mrs Lough. “They said he had concussion.”

She added: “Before Matthew went back to school, we spoke to the headmaster and expressed our concerns that it had escalated from verbal bullying to an attack and were concerned about what could happen next.

“Up to now the college has been amazing, but Matthew is now petrified about going to school.”

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph