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Family blame teachers after bullied pupil, 13, killed himself to become third teenager connected to school to die in a year

Jul 26, 2017, 11:08:11
By Rebecca Taylor, Mail Online

A 'friendly, funny and caring' boy suffered 'prolonged bullying' that was not taken seriously, his family has claimed.

Arin Lyth was found dead in the Low Grange area of Billingham in January, and his family claim he had been targeted at school, on his way home and even at home.

The 13-year-old was also a victim of social media attack.

In a statement following the inquest of the teenager his family claimed their cries for help to staff at Northfield School, in Stockton, fell on deaf ears and were met with a 'dismissive, arrogant' response.

Teesside Coroner's Court was told the youngster had suffered extensive bullying and had previously attempted to take his own life.

A verdict of suicide was recorded at the inquest on Thursday.

But the family statement said: 'Arin was a popular boy with his peers, he was friendly, funny and caring and liked to make others laugh and would often have giggling fits himself at things he found funny.

'Arin took great pride in his appearance and loved a mobile phone selfie at any given opportunity.'

It continued: 'During his time at Northfield School, Arin suffered prolonged bullying by individuals from the school.

'This was an ongoing problem and was reported on numerous occasions to the school by Arin's parents and auntie.

'He was targeted at school, on the way home and even to the extent of the bullies targeting him at home and prolonged attacks on social media.

'Both Northfield School and the police were made aware of all these events by Arin's family.

'Arin's two older brothers who both attended Northfield school have also been victims of bullying and again every time either their parents or a family member contacted the school the response was of a dismissive, arrogant nature.

'Our family was made to feel as if they were wrong for reporting it.'

The statement said the family is 'patiently and eagerly' awaiting the findings of a police investigation.

It added: 'Arin's parents have seen and read many articles in the local and national press regarding the sad deaths associated with the same school but would like to make very clear that this statement is the only time the family has spoken to the media regarding Arin's death and will not speak further until the police investigations are at a stage in which it is beneficial to do so or are concluded.

'The family would like to take this opportunity to thank family, friends and the local and wider community for their kind words, support and sympathy over the past months.

'Our family is determined in its fight to pursue justice for Arin and everyone who has supported us.

'We also want to send a clear message that bullying has no place in society and should not be tolerated and those who choose to bully should be dealt with by the authorities in the correct manner.'

Arin's body was found following a police search after he had been reported missing on January 12. Cleveland Police later issued a statement saying the force was not treating his death as suspicious.

At the time Northfield School confirmed the teenager was an ex-pupil, and no longer attended the school.

He was the third boy connected to Northfield to have died in a year, after 15-year-old Harry Gray, who was a current pupil, and former pupil Elton Harland, 13, died in 2016.

Stockton Council has been contacted for comment on behalf of the school.

Cleveland Police has also been contacted for comment.