Belfast Telegraph

Sickening video of Northern Ireland schoolgirl being attacked by bullies - mum slams school chiefs

She claims school and PSNI have failed to protect girl (12) after attack and death threats

By Brett Campbell

The mother of a 12-year-old girl who has endured months of misery at the hands of bullies has slammed a Co Down school and police for failing to protect her daughter.

The horrifying ordeal began when the mother of a Newtownards schoolgirl received a phone call from Glastry College to say that her daughter had been in a fight at 11am on February 2.

"They reassured me that everything was under control," she said.

"It wasn't until that evening when I saw a video of it that I realised the full extent of what had happened - I was livid, absolutely furious."

The 30-year-old single mum-of-two was left reeling when the video emerged on social media showing two schoolgirls kicking and punching her helpless daughter, who has since received multiple death threats from the bullies.

"The abuse hasn't stopped since then but the school and the police don't want to know," she said.

The distraught mum reported the disturbing attack to police.

She had to call the police again after a sinister threat was sent on social media by one of the bullies.

"I am gonna kill that wee f*****g slut," it read.

"I am bring [sic] a knife into school tomorrow - I am acc gonna kill her."

She also contacted the school again but said the response left her speechless.

"The principal said that because the message did not specify who it was aimed at, there was little he could do," she said.

The part-time retail worker contacted police for a third time after another chilling death threat was made over the phone.

She put her daughter's device on loudspeaker to record the vicious exchange.

"I'll f*****g make your last day at Glastry a f*****g lovely day - it will be the last day of your f*****g life," one of the bullies can be heard saying.

"We're going to do it good."

A PSNI spokesperson confirmed police are investigating the assault of a 12-year-old girl who was attacked on school grounds by two young female pupils and the death threat which was recorded.

They were unable to comment on a threat sent via social media as it involves a named individual, but it has been seen by the Belfast Telegraph.

Chief Inspector Rosemary Thompson said police have identified all suspects involved in the assault and that a young girl has been interviewed under caution.

"The matter is still under investigation and enquiries are continuing," she added.

"We would appeal to anyone who knows anything about this incident to contact police on the non-emergency number 101."

The police spokesperson said the victim's mother was updated about the progress of the enquiry within 10 days of the report and in line with procedures, although the baffled mother denies this.

"The only contact I have had with police throughout all of this is when I have rang them - when I first followed it up they couldn't tell me anything because the investigating officer was on holiday," she said.

"I later found out that they obtained CCTV footage from the school when they came back for the video that I have because apparently it is better - I haven't heard from them since.

"I have no idea why they are appealing for information, it's on video."

A police spokesperson said the investigating officer being on annual leave has had no impact on the investigation.

But the heartbroken mother criticised police for not doing enough to stop her daughter being tortured by the bullies and slammed the Ballyhalbert school for failing to adequately discipline the culprits.

"The behaviour of these pupils is disgusting," she said.

"I felt physically sick watching the video and yet they were only suspended for three days.

"I don't think that was long enough and it certainly didn't solve the problem - nothing has been done about the threats."

In a state of despair she wrote to the board of governors and outlined her serious concerns about how the school was failing to deal with her daughter's tormentors.

She said she was briefly reassured by a reply which stated the issue would be discussed at their next meeting, which was quickly followed with a phone call from the school principal.

"He said he felt that he had addressed the problem by suspending the girls," she explained.

"I suggested having a meeting with the other parents and getting the girls together.

"I have also suggested separating two of the bullies so they are no longer in the same class - but nothing was done.

"I was shocked when I got a letter from the board of governors just a few days later saying, 'I believe this matter has been resolved'.

"I couldn't believe that was the end of it."

The year nine pupil stopped attending the school two weeks ago while her distraught mum began making arrangements for her to transfer to another school.

"There were days when she wouldn't leave the house and several occasions when I ended up having to go and take her out of school," she said

"I eventually stopped encouraging her to go because I didn't feel it was safe."

The young victim started her new school yesterday, but the emergence of two additional videos showing one of the bullies attacking more pupils on school grounds again last week has left her and her mum in a state of paranoia.

"This was supposed to be a fresh start, but it could all end in disaster," her mum explained.

"The school is going to have to do something, they can't keep ignoring this - but then what?" the anxious parent asked.

"I'm terrified they will be expelled and end up at the same school my daughter has moved to to get away from them.

"This would have been much less traumatic if the school had dealt with the bullies at the very start."

Principal of Glastry College Alan Hutchinson said it would be inappropriate to comment on an individual case.

However, he insisted that the school takes any claims of bullying seriously and has a robust anti-bullying policy in place which is reviewed annually by school governors.

"We also have a zero tolerance policy in regard to fighting, and condemn all threatening or violent behaviour - parents are also encouraged to report incidents to the PSNI," he said.

Mr Hutchinson said the school works with the families and children concerned along with other agencies when necessary to ensure issues are addressed as quickly and effectively as possible.

"Students are also encouraged to resolve tensions or misunderstandings through calm, honest, face to face conversations, with mediation provided by its pastoral staff," he added.

Belfast Telegraph

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