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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Bullying campaigners back court decision
Jamie Bright and mother outside Teesside County Court
Jamie Bright lost his case at Teesside County Court
The head of an anti-bullying charity said people who claimed compensation for being attacked at school were suffering "prolonged victimhood".

Adrienne Katz, director of Young Voice supported a judge's refusal of damages to two people who suffered years of physical and verbal abuse at school.

Caroline Newby and Jamie Bright, now both 20, were pupils at Shotton Hall School in Peterlee, County Durham.

They claimed unsuccessfully that the county council and school governors had not done enough to protect them.


This (decision) will bring some reassurance to schools which are placed in a very difficult position in these cases

John Dunford, Secondary Heads Association

Ms Katz said County Durham was doing "exemplary work" to tackle bullying.

She said: "I believe you shouldn't prolong victimhood. You are locking that person into victimhood in the hope of receiving money.

"The best thing a parent can do is to encourage resilience and help the child to move on.

'Reduces opportunities'

"I'm not in favour of suing, I'm in favour of schools and local authorities improving ways of dealing with bullying.

"I don't see that suing helps in any sense, quite frankly."

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, said: "This will bring some reassurance to schools which are placed in a very difficult position in these cases.

"Headteachers are particularly conscious that they now operate in a world where people seek redress through the courts more readily.

"This has a bad effect on schools which inevitably try to avoid any kind of risk that means they might finish up in court if things go wrong.

"This is bad for schools and bad for pupils in that it reduces the opportunities made available to them."

For example, fewer school trips now took place every year because people were frightened of being sued, he said.

'Enormous problems'

Graham Lane, Labour education chairman of the Local Government Association, said surveys had shown up to a quarter of pupils said they had experienced bullying at some point.

Mr Lane said if all of them were to sue their LEA, it would cost councils a fortune.

"If they had won this case, it would have created enormous financial problems.

"In the end, all we can do is put procedures in place. Implementation of those procedures rests with the head and senior staff."


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05 Jul 02 | England
24 Jan 02 | UK Education
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