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Wednesday, 16 January, 2002, 09:40 GMT
Bullied girl's mother backs change
Cherie Booth
Cherie Booth was moved by the girl's case
The mother of a 15-year-old girl who tried to kill herself because of bullying has backed the government's new stance on the issue.

Julie Oakley praised the government's "really positive attitude" after it was announced it will be easier for schools to expel pupils caught with weapons.

Mrs Oakley only discovered her daughter was suffering from bullying when the teenager collapsed outside their south Gloucestershire home.


It's a really positive attitude from the government but the trouble is what do you then do with those pupils

Julie Oakley
She was hospitalised for three days after taking 41 paracetamol and 15 prescription painkillers.

But Mrs Oakley told BBC One's Breakfast programme it was still not clear what would be done with expelled children.

"It's a really positive attitude from the government but the trouble is what do you then do with those pupils."

And she questioned how bullies who used psychological means rather physical violence - such as those who tormented her daughter - would be dealt with.

"[My daughter] was being taunted, told she was ugly. Most of it was verbal.

"It made her so unhappy she felt the only option she had was to try and commit suicide.

Daughter's plight

"It's very hard to know what constitutes bullying although verbal can be just as bad as physical."

Mrs Oakley found teachers were unwilling to take action over her daughter's case and even suggested she move to a different school.

A letter to a local newspaper about her daughter's plight brought a flood of replies from parents experiencing similar problems.

And her case was then taken up by Cherie Booth after a heartfelt letter to the prime minister's wife.

Mrs Oakley said there was also an emotional toll on the parents and families of bullying victims, with relatives guilty they were unaware of problems.

See also:

05 Nov 01 | UK Education
29 Mar 01 | UK Education
24 Jan 01 | UK Education
08 Nov 00 | UK Education
13 Dec 00 | UK Education
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