Bashing bully girls back at school

NICOLA BRENNAN-TUPARA
Last updated 12:00 17/02/2011

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Cornered and scared in the toilet block of her school, a 13-year-old Morrinsville girl had no escape as four bullies beat her so badly they left her with a brain injury.

A week later those four girls are back at Morrinsville College - but their victim is not.

She has spent a week in and out of in hospital and is now under 24-hour care at home, with the prospect of never recovering fully from the attack.

Her mother Tracey Edwards finds the situation hard to understand. "It's disappointing that they were allowed to return to school," she said. "I mean who else are they going to do it to? Who's their next victim?

"It's great for them that they're back at school - but personally, as a parent, I'd just like them all shot. I'm so hurt and so very, very angry."

The police are investigating the attack, which happened on Tuesday last week when Ms Edward's daughter was beaten by four girls - three in year 9 and one year 10.

They allegedly cornered her in the girls' toilet and beat her so badly about the head she was left with bruising on her brain.

She now has constant headaches, blurry vision and memory loss.

But it was not the first time the girls had attacked her daughter, Ms Edward said. Last November they had taken to her - leaving her with concussion.

Ms Edwards wants to know why but no explanation had been forthcoming.

At a school board meeting on Monday the girls were asked why they picked on the victim. "Apparently none of the girls could give any reason as to why they did it," Ms Edwards said. "I would have understood if [my daughter] provoked them - but she didn't."

Ms Edwards said her daughter was too scared to return to school - but schooling her by correspondence would be difficult given her brain injury. "I just don't know what to do."

Ms Edwards said that given her daughter's history with the girls, she went to the school on the first day to arrange a safe environment for her daughter.

"But three days later they took to her."

Morrinsville College deputy principal Murray Feast - who investigated the attack - said the girls would not have been allowed to return to school if school management did not think it was safe.

He said they faced various consequences - including being stood down last week until they could be dealt with by the principal and the board of trustees on Monday.

"Principal John Inger wouldn't have had them back here unless he and the board were persuaded that [the girls] had moved on."

Mr Inger said the girls would "almost certainly be looking for a different school" if they did something like this again.

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Mr Feast was concerned about the level of violence in the attack.

"You have to be concerned that there are young people demonstrating extreme behaviour. It's my job to deal with that and I believe Morrinsville College is actually addressing the problem really well."

TEEN MAKES STAND TO STOP BULLIES

An attack on a Morrinsville College student has driven one of the attackers' friends to speak out against bullying and call for change.

Victoria McAuley stood up in front of her Year 9 peers during an assembly yesterday and told them "bullying and violence is not acceptable no matter what the reason".

Among those in the audience were three of the girls who took part in an attack at the school last week which left a 13-year-old student with a brain injury.

"I was really disgusted that these girls I called my friends could do something so evil," Victoria, 13, said.

Victoria has known the girls since primary school. She now hopes they will heed her message and take a stand against bullying too.

Victoria, who approached principal John Inger about speaking up, said she was very pleased that the school had supported her in making a stand.

Deputy principal Murray Feast said Victoria was very courageous to get up in front of the entire year, especially when some of her friends were involved in the attack.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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