Brave boy’s incredible mission after being choked by relentless bully at school

·4-min read

A young boy has made it his mission to spread kindness around Australia after being relentlessly bullied for years.

Kohbi Barrow told Yahoo News Australia he was first picked on by a fellow student while attending Year 5 at a Western Australian primary school.

“It was one student really often but other students sometimes did it — a lot of pushing me around,” the 12-year-old, who was school captain at the time, said.

Despite alerting his teacher and school officials, Kohbi said the bullying just got worse as he entered Year 6.

On one occasion, the bully threatened to stab him with scissors.

Kohbi who was bullied throughout Year 5 and 6
Kohbi told Yahoo News Australia being bullied made him feel 'down and sad'. Source: Supplied

On another, Kohbi said the boy choked him so “severely” that his mum Ree Barrow could still see the red marks on his neck when she picked him up at the end of the day.

The 12-year-old student once again flagged his injuries with the school, but said they did nothing until the bully picked up another student and dumped him on his head, forcing officials to suspend him.

Kohbi told Yahoo News Australia being the target of the bully’s aggression made him feel “down and sad” but that he also worried about the angry classmate because he knew “he didn’t have a good life at home”.

Parents go to police over bullying

Concerned about her son’s mental health, Mrs Barrow said she also spoke to school officials on several occasions but was eventually forced to call the police for help.

She said officers visited the school and the bully’s home, and offered to press charges if another incident occurred.

Kohbi with his parents and two siblings.
Eventually, the bullying became too much and the family moved from WA to NSW. Source: Supplied

It was around that time Kohbi spotted a bumper sticker about Dolly Everett, and although he had seen it before, this time he decided to look up her story.

He said he visited Dolly’s Dream — a charity created by Kate and Tick Everett after their 14-year-old daughter Dolly took her own life following extended bullying — and the resources he found “helped a lot”.

“I’ve learned how to avoid the bully and get him out of my life and forget about it, and how I can control it if someone bullies me,” Kohbi said.

'Kindness and Thanks'

Inspired by the help he received from the group, the avid hockey and soccer player, who has since left the school and moved to NSW with his family, decided he wanted to help spread the word.

Kohbi started his Coffee Lid Project, working with local cafes to help raise money for and awareness about Dolly’s Dream and Do It For Dolly Day on May 13.

Do It For Dolly Day aims to bring the community together to celebrate kindness and take a stand against bullying through fundraising and activities across Australia. Participants are encouraged to wear blue — Dolly’s favourite colour — be kind and help support anti-bullying initiatives.

The 12-year-old, who is now learning self-defence, has been given a $1500 Edstart grant, which he has put towards starting his own podcast called “Kindness and Thanks”.

He also sells postcards he has designed to help raise money for Dolly’s Dream, and more recently for the local Ukrainian community.

“Even though I was bullied, I feel like it’s helped me grow a lot. It’s helped me get here,” Kohbi said, emphasising his hope that kids stop.

Dolly and Meg on cattle farms. Source: Dolly's Dream
Meg said her sister Dolly would be 'amazed at how the world is changing in her name'. Source: Dolly's Dream

Dolly 'would be amazed', sister says

Do It For Dolly Day is honouring the 14-year-old’s memory, her older sister Meg says.

“I think my little sister would be amazed at how the world is changing in her name,” the 20-year-old, who lives on a Queensland cattle station, told Yahoo News Australia.

“She would be really proud of Mum and Dad. I’m sure she would be – I am.”

Meg has recently stepped into the role of ambassador for Dolly’s Dream with the goal of bringing “awareness to the devastation bullying does to the young people being bullied, and to their families and friends”.

“I want to honour Dolly’s legacy and help other young people like her,” she said.

“My little sister has had a huge effect on this world, and I want to make sure no one forgets her name.

“Dolly needs to be remembered for bringing kindness into this world. I’m ready to stand up publicly and say no more bullying.”

For more information about Dolly's Dream, Do It For Dolly Day and how to end bullying in Australia, click here.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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