Letter: On the ball with bullies

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The Independent Online
Thank you for the article "The Boys who Behave Dangerously" (EDUCATION, 8 July). It is a curious sort of comfort that our football-hating son is not alone in what he is going through at school, although it also makes me even more angry that it should be happening to so many children. When my son changed schools at seven, he was labelled "gay" almost immediately. If he was gay then, of course, he must have what bullies called "gay disease". This, thanks to the logic of children, became a reason both to make him literally an untouchable, and an excuse to beat him up. My shocked protests at both the violence and the homophobia met with very little response. I was not shocked by the homophobia, but at the suggestion that he was gay (at seven?).

In the end, the bullying got so bad we had to move him. At his new school he is still being taunted with "gay", but not, I think, being accused of having Aids.

There is a further problem these boys and their parents have to deal with. Because the victims are few and the bullies many, if the boys stand up for themselves, they become the centre of a number of disciplinary incidents.

Because they are the constant, the school comes to see them as the ones with the social or behavioural problems, and they are labelled as the problem rather than the victim. All this because a child cannot see the point of kicking round an inflated bit of plastic when they could be reading or exercising their imagination.

JULIA CRESSWELL

Oxford

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