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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
Former pupils lose bullying case
Jamie Bright and Caroline Newby
Jamie Bright and Caroline Newby brought the action
Two former pupils who were bullied at school have lost their case against the school.

Jamie Bright and Caroline Newby, both 20, took Shotton Hall Secondary School in Peterlee, County Durham to court for failing to protect them.

The two former pupils lost their legal battle for compensation at Teesside County Court on Friday.

Recorder Julian Goose accepted Miss Newby and Mr Bright had been bullied, but said the school was not to blame.


Their advice to other children who are suffering bullying would be to learn by their mistakes and report it promptly

Solicitor Diane Brough

Speaking outside the court, Diane Brough, the claimant's solicitor, said the pair were "extremely disappointed" with the judgement.

"They have no regrets about bringing the claims," she said.

"The judge found there were serious and sustained incidents of bullying and both claimants are pleased that the public will have the opportunity to see what has been going on at the school and draw their own conclusions.

"Other children may not suffer in the way that these claimants have.

"Their advice to other children who are suffering bullying would be to learn by their mistakes and report it promptly, name names and ensure that the school does something there and then to assist them."

Schooling suffered

The pair brought separate claims against the governors and Durham County Council, whose local education authority runs the 1,200-pupil school.

During the trial at Teesside County Court, Miss Newby said she was shunned by classmates, spat at and called names by a gang of girls.

She says her schooling suffered and she had to be taught alone.

Mr Bright told the hearing he was regularly physically assaulted and was once knocked unconscious outside the dinner hall.

Eventually his parents withdrew him from school and he still does not have any GCSE qualifications.

During closing arguments by the defence, Judge Goose told the claimants: "I think I can fairly indicate the defendants accept that the two claimants were the subject undoubtedly of a course of behaviour that one would call bullying."

Lessons learned

Barrister Philip Cramer, for the claimants, was refused permission by the judge to appeal against the decision but was given 28 days notice to file an appeal direct to a higher court.

Neil Charlton, deputy director education of Education for Durham told BBC News: "We are happy that the verdict has gone the way it has.

"Shotton Hall School is a very good school, it's very popular with the pupils and with parents.

"I want to read the judgement now, along with colleagues at County Hall, to see if there are any lessons that we need to learn."

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The BBC's John Thorne
"Their evidence did show that there were serious and sustained incidents of bullying"

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