Children scarred by school bullying
By NATALIE PEUTnataliep@gladstoneobserver.com.au
LOCAL children are suffering from depression and seeking counselling as a result of school yard bullies.
Community Advisory Service family support counsellor Veronica Laverick said the issue of bullying in local schools had reached dangerous levels for some victims.
'I see a lot of children coming in distressed or suffering from depression because of various bullying acts by fellow school students,' she said.
Ms Laverick said bullying could often result in ongoing emotional issues such as long-term depression and low self-confidence.
She also added that the effects of the bullying did not only affect the immediate victim.
'It's not only the child who suffers, the parent does as well, because they see their child cry each day or see them distressed and as a mother or a parent they have the same feelings,' Mrs Laverick said.
In her role Ms Laverick said she also dealt with the person doing the bullying to try and help them under-stand the consequences.
'A lot of the time they don't realise what they're doing,'' she said.
'Often it's a result of how they treat their family members at home.'
She said it was important for teachers to do some training on what constituted bullying to better understand its effects. Fourteen-year-old Christie Risteski said bullying was an everyday occurrence at her school.
She said name calling was the main form of bullying, however sometimes it got physical.
'There is always the one group, commenting on the image of others, including calling them fat, ugly and even d...heads,' Ms Risteski said.
Miss Risteski said the effects from bullying could be quite distressing.
'We see people lose their self confidence, and sometimes they even withdraw themselves from others.'
She said in one circumstance, a student changed school because of bullying.
Adette Lynch agreed that bullying was an everyday issue.
'It is emotionally upsetting for the victim, watching these bullies embarrass them is quite painful,' she said.
She said one of the worst examples of bullying was spreading rumours about others.
'It was not only name calling and selfish acts, it was also stares, and rumours which are spread,' she said.
Both of the girls admitted they hadn't been affected by this group's bullying act, but believed watching it happen was just as bad.