Parents reveal cycle of bullying

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The Independent Online
Three out of five parents say that their children are bullied at school, according to a report published yesterday.

Bullying sets up a cycle of misery, with parents who are bullied being more than twice as likely as others to have children who are bullied.

The report from Leeds Metropolitan University and the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations comes after the disappearance last Monday of a 13-year-old Manchester girl who said she was being bullied at school triggered a nationwide alert.

Sally McGrath, a pupil at Oakwood High School in Chorlton cum Hardy who left a note saying: "I can't face another day at school. They all hate me", returned home safely last night. Her mother, Caroline McGrath, who is head of a school for children with emotional problems, said earlier that there had been an incident at school last Friday. She said her daughter had "reacted badly to banter from classmates".

Oakwood's deputy headteacher, Ed Wyllie, said : "The school does not feel this is a straightforward case of bullying".

The report, thought to be the first to ask parents about bullying, found 62 per cent had been bullied, and just over one-fifth believed it had had long-term effects. Around a quarter of parents of children who were bullied were unhappy about the way the school responded. Nearly all said they wanted written guidance from schools. They said playgrounds were the most dangerous places and should be better supervised. One said: "Playgrounds are awful places ... Any areas which are not observed give bullies the opportunity they seek."

Another who had been bullied told researchers: "It was never resolved. Up to the age of 15 I tried to beat the system - expelled from school, lock-ups, approved school."

Another described what happened to her four-year-old son: "He was kicked and hit, had work pulled away, was pushed off his chair, pushed out of line as he stood in the dinner queue. Several times he was pinned to a wall - and he's only been at school five months."

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