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Last Updated: Friday, 8 February 2008, 12:38 GMT
Boys in fear from school bullies
Sebastian and Sue Groves
Sebastian Groves is now being educated at a specialist school
The parents of two boys who needed hospital treatment after bullying incidents have said a Kent school is not doing enough to protect pupils.

Sebastian Groves, 13, and Kieran Hunt, 15, were assaulted at or on their way home from The Howard School in Rainham.

"I don't feel I can trust the school to look after Kieran's or any student's welfare," said his father, Alex Hunt.

Head teacher Paul Morris said behaviour had improved in recent years and bullying was being tackled effectively.

The Howard School in Medway is a single sex comprehensive with 1,500 boys aged 11-18.

Figures obtained by BBC South East Today show there were 108 fixed-term exclusions from the school last year for physical assault.

There were 143 exclusions for verbal abuse or threatening behaviour.

Sebastian described incidents of physical bullying: "I had my ribs broken because someone thought it was funny to push me up a flight of stairs - people were suffocating me.

Howard School
The Howard School is a comprehensive with 1,500 boys

"I was on my way home and one of them was trying to push me on the train tracks.

"I had three people grab hold of me - two of them pinned me down and the other one started kicking me.

Sebastian has now left The Howard and is being educated at a specialist school.

"I just feel that if people are throwing things at him in class, then something should be done in class," said his mother, Sue Groves.

"I expect him to be safer."

Kieran is still at the school, though his parents are thinking of removing him.

"The pain [of the assault] isn't really that much - it is the mental pain of it all, and having to go through it day after day after day," he said.

"It makes going to school hell, knowing teachers aren't going to do anything about it as well makes it even worse - you feel completely hopeless."

Mr Hunt said he did not feel the school was taking the bullying seriously.

Kieran Hunt
Kieran Hunt's father said he did not trust his safety within the school

"I am very worried that Kieran is going to be in a position where this is going to continue.

"I don't want that happening."

Paul Morris said the number of exclusions at the school were down by a third since September and the number of days lost through exclusion was down by 60%.

It dealt with bullying in citizenship classes, had a full-time counsellor and ran peer mentoring and buddying schemes to support pupils.

"All schools experience bullying to some extent and The Howard is no different," he said.

"The issue is that where bullying occurs it is challenged and dealt with effectively.

"I believe that at The Howard we do deal with bullying effectively.

"But from time to time, where you have 1,500 young men interrelating, there can be conflict."



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A school is accused of not doing enough to protect pupils



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