Incessant taunting in the schoolyard and classrooms could have pushed 13-year-old Bianca (not her real name) to the point where she tried to take her own life just to make it stop.
After many afternoons spent in a darkened bedroom crying and listening to music, she decided one night three weeks ago that she would hang herself. "I felt like everyone hated me and no one cares about me," she said. "I just couldn't take it any more."
Fortunately, she then thought better of it and told her brother the next day what she had tried and he told their parents.
She is glad she did not go through with it. "I thought 'why am I doing this'," she said.
Bianca said so-called friends had teased her constantly, demanded money with threats of violence and called her "fat" and "ugly".
Her parents say they alerted her school, in the Perth metropolitan area, to the bullying but they believe its response was inadequate.
"It's not that they don't do anything about it, but they don't do enough," her father said. "We need the schools to be more vigilant in regards to bullying, rather than just say 'this is what kids do'."
The school's principal said bullying was a complex issue. "Teenage relationships are often very intense and students fall in and out of friendships," he said. The principal said any student who suffered emotional trauma was given every support the school could offer. "Great lengths have been taken to support the student, including involvement from school psychologists, a chaplain, year co-ordinator and the student services manager, and to notify the student's parents when her wellbeing became a concern," he said.If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
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