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

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  • My daughter was a victim of bullies at one stage. One time, one girl (a repeat offender) tried to set my daughters hair on fire on a school excursion, they were on the bus. What happened to the girl? She was ‘spoken to’ not good enough in my opinion


  • How awful. So glad the family is speaking up and holding hose responsible to account.
    This is why we need the Safe Schools program nationally.


  • yes sadly schools just don’t take this seriously enough. my daughter has a boy in her class that in one week, punched two boys and didn’t get any punishment but the afternoon off school. this child constantly bullies the children, throwing things at them and swearing but nothing has been done yet.


  • Bullying has such terrible long term effects on victims. Bullying needs to be tackled with vigour by schools.


  • Good. Perhaps schools will start taking bullying seriously.


  • Oh poor kid! I’m glad he’s still alive. That school should have addressed the situation, but they clearly didn’t! Leaving that kid in a very difficult situation. So much harm, poor one!!


  • The treatment of this poor kid was terrible. Schools need to be stronger in addressing bullying.


  • Schools need to be highly proactive in protection of our kids.


  • That is terrible that the school didn’t do more to help him. Poor kid


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