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Mother of 11-year-old transgender pupil shot at school says teachers 'failed to combat bullying'

Apr 12, 2017, 10:00:00

The mother of a transgender child who was shot at school with a BB gun has accused teachers of not taking the bullying seriously.

Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester, she described how five months of harassment had a “terrible effect” on her 11-year-old daughter.

She said: “[She’s] had verbal bullying. That’s an ongoing, everyday thing. On other occasions she’s been grabbed by the throat. She was kicked to the ground.

On numerous occasions she’s had drinks thrown over her. She’s been spat at and it’s just constant.”

The unnamed mother told the BBC her daughter had been shot by another pupil but was not physically hurt.

A statement from the school, which has not been named, confirmed a ball bearing pellet gun had been fired at a pupil.

The school said it took the attack “very seriously” and had expelled the pupil concerned and apologised to the girl's parents.

But the girl’s mother said she thought the incident had been dealt with “very very badly”, noting the school had not informed the family and didn’t call the police.

“Our child came home to us in December and said she couldn't take any more and was going to throw herself off a bridge,“ said the mother.

“I’d sent an email on the Sunday before this happened to say we were concerned, this was escalating and it wasn’t being actioned - and because children were getting away with it, they were doing it more and more.

“On Monday I’d already been phoned up and asked to bring her home from school because she was upset, because another pupil had graffitied all over her artbook with transphobic graffiti.

Evidence given by the Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES) last year claimed around 650,000 people – one per cent of the UK population – ”are likely to be gender incongruent to some degree“ and around 30,000 have sought help for gender dysphoria.

It added that referrals to NHS Gender Identity Clinics (GIC) are rising by 20 per cent each year, while in the child and adolescent services (Tavistock gender identity development service) annual referrals are doubling.

More than 1,400 young people were referred to the Tavistock Centre in London in 2016.

In a statement the school said: “The matter has been treated very seriously and the pupil who fired the BB gun has been permanently excluded.

”We wish to send a message out to our community that this behaviour is completely unacceptable and will result in removal from our school.

“We have enlisted the support of a national organisation to help us further with our training of staff and pupils and support for our transgender pupils.

”We have met with the parents of the pupil to apologise and to see what we can do further as a school.“