Bullied teenager sues over school's 'failure to protect'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A teenager who claims she suffered post-traumatic stress after being bullied at school yesterday launched a High Court claim for damages against her local authority.

A teenager who claims she suffered post-traumatic stress after being bullied at school yesterday launched a High Court claim for damages against her local authority.

Leah Bradford-Smart, 19, argues she became depressed after "persistent and prolonged bullying" and is claiming compensation for personal injury from West Sussex County Council.

The council denies the claim and the school insists it had a strong anti-bullying policy, but Miss Bradford-Smart says the school failed to protect her.

The case, thought to be among the first of its type, centres on Miss Bradford-Smart's time at Ifield Middle School in Crawley, which she attended between 1990 and 1993.

Her counsel, Augustus Ullstein QC, told the court Miss Bradford-Smart had started at the school when her mother moved to Crawley. She made friends with a girl who lived nearby, but when she started school her new friend turned against her. In a statement, Miss Bradford-Smart told how children "started calling me creep or swot and pushing me around". She had been threatened if she "grassed them up".

Mr Ullstein told the court: "That was the beginning of persistent and prolonged bullying which continued until she left Ifield Middle School in the summer of 1993."

Miss Bradford-Smart was taught at home for a year after leaving the school, before going to Crawley College.

Mr Ullstein said a psychiatrist later diagnosed the teenager as "suffering from depression and manifesting symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder".

A statement from Miss Bradford-Smart's head teacher insisted he had not been aware of bullying, Mr Ullstein said.

The case continues.

Comments