Victoria’s Education Department is being sued by a 15-year-old boy over claims ongoing bullying about his sexuality left him suicidal.
The boy, Nathan Whitmore, says for two years he was the victim of daily harassment and intimidation while a student at Somerville Secondary College, because he was gay.
“He [a fellow student] called me a faggot, he called me useless,” Nathan told the ABC in a recent interview. “He called me a pig, he basically called me everything you can think of. It got bad to the point I tried to killed myself twice because nothing was happening and I thought if I died, the whole bullying thing would stop.”
Nathan added that the bully had threatened to stab him with a knife and beat him up using a skateboard.
According to Nathan’s mother, Cathilee Whitmore, her constant complaints to the principal, Christopher Lloyd about the bullying fell on deaf ears and nothing was done about the situation.
Also speaking with the ABC, Ms Whitmore said the final straw for her came when her son tried to commit suicide and ended up in a hospital psychiatric ward.
Ms Whitmore went to police and eventually took out an intervention order against her son’s tormentor.
The single mother-of-four said she had spent thousands of dollars in ongoing counselling to help her son. Despite the counselling, Nathan sadly continues to self harm. There is evidence of scars on his arm where he picked his skin.
Nathan’s solicitor, James Brett Young from Shine Lawyers, said schools owed students a duty of care.
“Where this is breached, an institution may be held liable for the damage and may be compelled to compensate those who’ve been harmed,” he said. “Schools are responsible for a providing students with safe and supportive educational environments and must ensure staff are appropriately trained to protect pupils from bullying and harassment.”
Image source: Shutterstock