'Absolutely shattered': School bullying rocks Gympie family
TWELVE-YEARS-OLD, Brian Birchall should be out enjoying the weekend with his friends from school.
But because of two suicide attempts caused by incessant bullying, the Gympie youth is instead under observation at Brisbane's Lady Cilento Hospital, a turn of events which has left his family "absolutely shattered" and demanding change.
Brian's brother Murray Benton detailed the disturbing harassment the teen was the subject of in a Facebook post which has gone viral.
"For months now... he has been pushed around, been called names, been involved in both group and one on one fights, been made the laughing stock in front of his peers and the list goes on," Mr Benton said.
"As a result my brother has been pushed to the point where he would rather turn to self harm (as) opposed to returning to school."
Speaking with The Gympie Times today, Mr Benton said Brian had been taken to Gympie Hospital after his first attempt at self-harm on Tuesday night.
He was discharged later that night, but last night Brian made another attempt at self-harm.
This time, after being admitted to Gympie Hospital they were able to secure a transfer to the Lady Cilento Hospital where he will be assessed by a team of experts.
Worse, Mr Benton said that while one of the alleged bullies had been given a three-day suspension, he is now free to return to school as normal.
"After speaking to other parents within our Gympie community and hearing how many kids are in the same boat with our schools I am fully aware that he is not the only one. This in itself is disgusting," he said on social media.
"The last couple of days have absolutely shattered me."
It was this, he told The Gympie Times, which was his biggest concern.
"We've got primary school kids that are going to this extent.
"It's time for something to change."
Note: This story has been edited after a spokeswoman for the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service contacted The Gympie Times with the following statement:
"The child has been supported by the public health system for a number of years."
* If you need help, phone Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 or visit www.kidshelpline.com.au, or phone Lifeline on 131114.