Belfast Telegraph

Mother and daughter attack may be related to falling-out in school

By Bob Malcolm

AN EAST Belfast woman and her daughter have been physically attacked – allegedly as a result of a classroom fight.

The mum and her daughter were punched and kicked in the street by a man they believe to be a relative of another pupil the girl doesn't get on with.

The family is now refusing to send the girl back to Ashfield Girls' High School until it takes action against the other girl.

However, Ashfield principal Alison Mungavin said the school has a robust anti-bullying policy and that this is a matter for the police.

According to the family, who cannot be identified for unrelated legal reasons, a group of men appeared at their home and threatened them before the assault in broad daylight.

The police have confirmed they are investigating the incident, as is Belfast Education and Library Board.

The parents have arranged a meeting with the education board. They allege their daughter is being singled out by the other pupil and that the school is not doing enough about it.

They say their daughter has rarely gone outside since she was assaulted, and is on medication because she is not sleeping properly.

According to the mother, the ill-feeling began before the Easter holidays and during the Easter break a group of four men came to their door and threatened the family– allegedly at the behest of the other girl.

Then, on June 25, she and her daughter were walking home when a man appeared behind them.

"My daughter said, 'Mum there's a man behind us and he looks suspicious'. Next thing he was beside my daughter and he punched her in the face."

Her father said: "We went to the school the next day, but they seemed more interested in the other wee girl than our daughter."

Both parents said they know their daughter is "no angel" but that she didn't deserve to be assaulted.

A spokesperson for the Belfast Education and Library Board declined to comment "due to sensitive issues surrounding child protection".

The principal of Ashfield Girls' School, Alison Mungavin, said that come September, the girls would only come into contact at break times when teachers patrol the school.

"They will have little opportunity to meet," she said.

"There is very little violence at the school and we deal with any form of bullying properly.

"I feel the police should be dealing with this incident and the girl has nothing to fear inside the school.

"The school has been very hard on bullying towards pupils or staff," she said, adding that she had had meetings with the family.

"The school has contacted the PSNI and we have been as supportive as we can."

A police spokesperson confirmed that officers at Strandtown are investigating the alleged assault in the Dundela Avenue area.

They said it had been reported around 9pm on Tuesday, June 25 and that an unknown man had approached two females aged 46 and 14-years-old.

"The man punched the youth in the face and kicked the older female.

"Both females received minor injuries. Enquiries are continuing."

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