‘Parents and schools can work together to tackle bullying issue’

A MUM whose teenage daughter suffered at the hands of bullies wants parents and schools to work together to stamp out bullying, which she says “is rife everywhere”.

As the Herald reported a few months ago, Lynn Paterson’s 13-year-old child was tormented by cruel cyberbullies who sent vile abuse through online app Saraha.

But Lynn’s daughter, a pupil at St Matthew’s Academy, then received more abuse from a bully at her school.

Lynn claims that the bully’s mother found out about the taunting and contacted the school because she was concerned that Lynn’s daughter might harm herself.

Thankfully, the cruel taunts recently subsided but Lynn believes that those in authority should work together to tackle bullying.

She said: “They can do more by involving parents, teachers and the pupils. Bullying is rife everywhere.

“It’s alright giving out a couple of leaflets. They need to ban mobiles in the classrooms. That’s how they communicate with each other now. When it comes to bullying, take it more serious.

“Parents need to take more responsibility but the schools need to take responsibility as well. Have a better mediation happen, have the parents involved.

“I would like to try and get as many parents involved and more aware of their kids’ activities whether bullying or being bullied. We can’t really stop kids going online but I’ve made mine aware they can’t change their passwords so I have access.

“I’ve got my daughter’s [computer] password so I’m trying to keep her as safe as I can. If she changes her password she’s grounded.”

Lynn was concerned at how the school handled the previous bullying of her daughter but hopes that teachers, parents and pupils can now work together to tackle the problem in future.

Lynn said: “I have never had a chance to have a meeting with the school to include the bullies and parents to mediate. They have just said they wanted the children to mediate which hasn’t happened. This was before the summer holidays.

“For the school to not acknowledge or give you answers … This mediation was supposed to take place before the summer. There’s nothing coming from the school. That’s two deaths, they’ve got to start to take this seriously.

“This girl [the bully] said she was going to kick my daughter and her friend’s heads in. She said this to two guidance teachers and PC Hogg. This was what she said when mediation was spoke about. The bully’s mother had a meeting with the guidance and PC Hogg came to our house. The guidance teacher didn’t let on. He didn’t say there was a parent meeting, left me in the dark.

“The bully’s mother had phoned them saying my daughter’s going to commit suicide.

“There’s been absolutely no further communication from them. I was wanting to make the school aware they can’t just have this mediation between pupils. The school isn’t doing enough.”

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We treat any instances of bullying within our schools extremely seriously. We offer support to the pupils and families affected and take firm and decisive action when required.

“We promote a positive spirit across our schools with dignity and respect at the heart of everything we do.

“Cyberbullying is an issue that affects people in all walks of life but clearly young people are particularly susceptible and vulnerable to this.

“While we can provide support and guidance, parents/carers also need to be very aware of the dangers of social media. We are here to help but ultimately the parent/carer is the one who can monitor accounts and regular check what their child is doing online

“We would also urge anyone who may have concerns or if their child has received inappropriate messages, to please get in ttouch with our partners at Police Scotland.”

Following last week’s article in the Herald about bullying, Auchenharvie Academy Parent Council released the following statement: “Auchenharvie Academy Parent Council would like to acknowledge the diligence shown by a staff member at Auchenharvie School, in regard to the afore mentioned incident, encouraging the pupil in question, to discuss her concerns with her mother and suggesting police involvement might be the appropriate avenue for them to pursue.

“In supporting this pupil to disclose the abusive text sent out-with school time from a stranger who doesn’t attend Auchenharvie School.

“This is yet another good example of the continuous support our young people and their families are given by the staff at Auchenharvie school.

“Only this week further support through two parental engagement events were held, one at Ardeer Community Centre hosting the ‘Big Conversation,’ and the other through the Family Learning Team.

“This offered parents/ carers to have taster session in various classes, giving them an insight into the school’s daily workings, also an opportunity to meet the teaching staff at both events.