Of the plethora of issues we can face as children growing up, bullying is amongst the worst.
To be mocked, insulted, or even physically abused by our piers is something that can cause lasting damage to people during their formative years, and unfortunately it’s far more common than any of us would like to admit.
Children are ruthless creatures in the main, and many will take advantage of the slightest difference in someone if it means getting a laugh from their friends.
Amy McAloon knows all about this. The 14-year-old, who attends Aslop High School in Walton, Liverpool, has autism. That, apparently was enough to single her out for an act of bullying that’s sending ripples across social media …
According to the Daily Mail, on March 25 Amy was pinned down by one of her classmates whist in their classroom. She was then hit repeatedly by another as other classmates just watched. One of them even filmed the incident, and another encouraged the violence.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the footage circulated on social media, leaving Amy feeling embarrassed, alone, and ostracised.
When she came home, she told her mom: “Mum, there’s a video of me getting beaten up on Snapchat.”
Her mother, Helen, was left devastated by the video, and decided not to send Amy to school the next day.
Helen said: “My daughter is vulnerable – she’s not the kind of person to say boo to anyone. She’s such an easy target. I just want someone to highlight this. She got beaten up a few times in the playground and this has been going on for three years.”
Indeed, according to reports Amy has been a target for bullies for a while. Her older brothers used to have to meet her to walk her home from school, and it would appear the abuse isn’t isolated to just one bully.
Furthermore, Helen claims the school has failed to act on her concerns in the past, since the incidents occurred outside of school grounds. Since the video was released, however, they appear to be taking a firmer stance.
“Alsop High School takes any allegations of bullying extremely seriously and the wellbeing of our pupils is of the highest priority. This very regrettable incident was dealt with immediately by staff as part of the school’s internal disciplinary process.”
After watching the video, Helen said: “The kids in school can pick her autism out a mile off. They are feral. There’s one girl holding her down and a boy shouting ‘punch her, punch her’. I can’t imagine how hard it is for her to go into school every day.”
And yet instead of removing the video, Helen wants to share it so that others can see the challenges her daughter faces. We think this is an especially brave decision, and hopefully one that will raise awareness of bullying in schools on the whole.
To us, and hopefully to you to, bullying is one of the most despicable aspects of society. It’s our aim to try and root it out wherever it rears its ugly head, and bring it into the light so that the bullies are exposed for who and what they are!