Now the parents and victims of bullying who are too afraid to go to school, have banded together, to plead with governments for change, after feeling they have been let down time and time again by a failing system.
In exclusive vision obtained by A Current Affair it is clear to see why the many faces of our bullying epidemic say they are too afraid to go to school, with footage showing the violent attacks that are taking place behind school gates.
In one video, 13-year-old Mia is attacked in the playground and when asked by reporter Chris Allen about whether this makes her “feel scared about going to school,” Mia tells him, “Yes definitely.”
“I’ve been followed around the school, throughout the playgrounds and people have come looking for me, not knowing what they would do” Mia said.
What the bullies did next to Mia when they finally did catch up with her, left her with bruises all over her face, as well as with the emotional scars that you can’t see.
“I had a big black eye, I had a little cut under here and I had like a big bubble over here too and my lip was busted,” she said.
The bully who attacked Mia has been excluded from the school, but Mia’s mum Kirri Smith said that was the only punishment her bully got.
“I’ve had to change her school because she’s just begging me, mum I need to change schools, I can’t go back,” Ms Smith said.
Another child who has been left scarred by bullies is 11-year-old Connor, who was not only punched and left with a scar on his cheek, but was also told by his attackers repeatedly, to kill himself.
Connor’s mother Hayley Bates claims that her son “is definitely not the same kid Connor was a year ago.”
“Same sort of thing every day, go kill yourself, why are you here, why aren’t you dead? That’s what they were saying to him the day they had him on the ground, in a headlock,” she said.
When asked about how hearing these things constantly makes him feel, Connor said, “Just makes me feel, like I want to do it now.” He said this while sobbing in his mother’s arms.
Connor said he was tormented for several months by the same group of bullies at his primary school, before he was attacked, with his mother confirming she had also gone to her son’s school about her concerns, but was dismissed.
Ms Bates said she was told by the school that “They’re just words, they’re just kids, nothing’s going to happen.”
“See this is what they don’t understand, like when you’re at home, this is like what I see of Connor and how upset he is, and the school just thinks it’s all a joke,” she said.
Sam Archer says she took her eight-year-old daughter Issy out of this school because she was being bullied by the same group of boys as Connor.
Ms Archer claims her concerns were not taken seriously by the school either.
“That’s not teasing, you’re telling my child to kill herself and she’s eight and you’re going to say that’s teasing? That’s ridiculous,” she said.
Lacey, 11, says her bullies have made her too terrified to go to school, claiming, “I don’t feel safe, one bit.”
Lacey’s mother Nicole Bleye said the bullying had been bad for her daughter and for the whole family.
“It got to the point where I had to give up work during the week,” she said.
“I had to drive them to and from school, so they weren’t targeted on the way home or to school.”
The bullying got so unbearable for Lacey that Ms Bleye felt the only option left was to pull her daughter out of one school and into another, but then one of the bullies followed her to her new school.
“She’s come in to the class and here he is sitting beside her,” Ms Bleye said.
Ms Bleye feels like the education departments are not doing enough about the bullying crises, stating, “I think they’re wasting our taxpayer’s money, you know they have all these anti-bullying campaigns and that, but it’s running rampant.”
In iPhone footage, 12-year-old Lena is seen being deliberately and brutally attacked by a group of girls.
“I was five minutes from the school gate when a girl came up behind me, grabbed my hair and started upper-cutting me to the face … before landing 3 body shots and a knee to the head,” she said.
Lena is yet another victim who says she now fears going back to school, as she describes what this attack did to her. “I got a severely swollen eye and a bleeding nose and a couple of bruises on my arms.”
Lena’s father Hira Adlam has chosen to speak out after the 16-year-old who attacked his daughter, got away with it.
“As far as we are aware no charges are being laid and the student’s been basically given a slap on the wrist,” he said.
Susan De Campo, who counsels children who have been bullied, believes this is the first generation where there is no reprieve for students who are being bullied.
“It not only happens in the school environment; after school, but there is no switching off, because what happens then is the bullying can continue online; so these young people are getting no reprieve from the bullying behaviour,” she said.
The parents of these children who have become victims to bullying, have now come together in the hope that telling their stories will action some change, with many of their children having to move schools just to try and get away from their tormentors.
When contacted by A Current Affair and asked what they were doing to combat bullying, the Victorian government said it was spending $8.9 million on a protective schools package which includes an incident support centre to help schools respond to bullying.
New South Wales have a anti-bullying website which has strategies to deal with bullying.
The Queensland government said it’s spending $3.5 million implementing the recommendations of a taskforce, which includes $2 million for an awareness and education campaign, but these parents want action taken against the bullies.
Mr Adlam has started a petition calling for tougher penalties for bullies, but Mrs De Campo says that doesn’t always work.
“Punitive behaviour against people is not always a deterrent and we need to introduce much more comprehensive programs to deal with this socially unacceptable behaviour,” she said.
Ms Bates can’t understand why education departments are not doing more.
“You need to do something. Get rid of these kids, get them out of the school like you know, show them that you aren’t just gonna (sic) allow this stuff to happen,” she said.
Mrs De Campo advises parents who believe their children are being bullied at school to complain to the school authorities and keep complaining until something is done.
Anybody needing support can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. Children and young adults up to 25 can call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.