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Last Updated: Monday, 12 November 2007, 13:35 GMT
Disabled bullying 'overlooked'
Anti-bullying wristband
Disabled pupils face abuse in school and on transport, says report
The bullying of children with disabilities is not being taken seriously enough, says learning disability charity, Mencap.

Children with learning or physical disabilities faced repeated taunts and violence in school, parks and on transport, says the report.

Children's Commissioner Sir Al Aynsley-Green, says people have been "slow to recognise" the problem.

A government spokesman said that all school bullying was "unacceptable".

The report from Mencap, about "disablist" bullying, includes an account from a disabled pupil who said he had been bullied but had had little support.

Spitting

Peter, aged 17, told researchers: "When I went to school I got bullied really badly."

"I got bullied at break times by other children at school. They would call me names, spit on me and throw stones and bottles.

"I told my teachers at school and they said that I had special needs so I should get used to it as I would be bullied all of my life."

Another child said that she had been attacked because of her disability. "They said I was ugly and they banged my head so badly that I had to go to hospital to have 18 stitches in my forehead."

The report also shows that these children, who might look or behave differently from their peers, face abuse and mockery on a regular basis in school, parks and on public transport.

It includes an account of a boy with Down's syndrome who "would return from the park with bruises and torn clothes" after local youths attacked him as an "entertainment".

The report says that while efforts have been made to target racist and homophobic bullying that there had been an insufficient drive to prevent the bullying of disabled pupils.

A survey of 500 children with learning disabilities, aged between eight and 19, claimed that eight out of 10 of these children had faced bullying at school.

Six out of ten of these children had faced physical attacks.

Mencap's chief executive, Dame Jo William said there had been a lack of "clear leadership" in stopping the bullying of disabled pupils.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said: "We are currently working on guidance to help teachers tackle the bullying of children with disabilities and we have been clear with schools that stamping out any bullying is a top priority.

"We have also given teachers the powers they requested to maintain discipline by clamping down on violent or abusive pupils."



SEE ALSO
Gay bullying in schools 'common'
26 Jun 07 |  Education
Pupils 'should penalise bullies'
28 Mar 07 |  Education

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