Belfast Telegraph

Pupils from south Belfast school accused of threatening to kill child

By Kate Buck

Schoolchildren as young as 12 have been accused of issuing death threats to another pupil at a secondary school in Northern Ireland. 

A concerned parent of the pupil from Breda Academy in south Belfast told the Belfast Telegraph that she repeatedly told the school about the extreme bullying, which has included physical assaults and resulted in suspensions lasting a couple of days.  

The mother also claimed that up to seven teachers have said that despite witnessing the abuse, they have little power to do anything in fear of compromising pupils' human rights. The 12 and 13-year-old pupils, who have been accused of bullying another pupil, allegedly used social media as a tool to harass and intimidate their classmate, and comments were left on a website last week saying they were going to "kill".

In addition to these threats, one of the pupils is said to have run around the school looking for the student saying they were going to kill the alleged victim.

Police are aware of the incidents and said it was "quite a serious matter", and the situation has been under investigation for the past two weeks.

When the alleged intimidators are not in school, the pupil reportedly achieves good grades, is high achieving and works hard. But when they are in school the pupil is forced to hide in empty classrooms for fear of another assault, the mother said. She added: "It's a struggle getting my child up for school in the morning. They have removed these pupils from my child's classes but there is an issue with safety and the school recognises that.

"I have considered taking my child out of the school - but why should my child have to suffer because these pupils are bullying?"

The mother added that her child is contacted by these pupils when away from school through chats on social media.

"Seven teachers have said that they have seen this behaviour towards my child, including one hearing that the bully wasn't afraid to slap my child," the mother claimed.

"I understand that the teachers have had the threats shown to them and there was one time when one of them shouted in a teacher's face that she was going to kill my child and the teacher said she was too scared of the student to turn her back on them." Breda Academy principal Matthew Munro said: "I cannot comment on an individual ongoing case for reasons of confidentiality and safeguarding.

"However, I would make the following general observations. Breda Academy takes allegations of bullying, including physical assault, very seriously. The safety of pupils is our paramount concern. 

"Where the actions of individual pupils are harmful towards others we have policies and procedures in place to address them. This includes acting swiftly on information of a serious concern and - where necessary - liaising with EA officers, PSNI and other agencies outside school. With regard to suspensions and expulsions, Breda Academy - as a controlled school - abides by the current EA Scheme for suspensions and expulsions."

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