Parents in protest as girl bullied by more than 30 students
A BUNDABERG mother fed up with bullies has staged a protest outside her daughter's school.
Anushka Hewett, husband Shannon and a group of supporters stood across the road from Moore Park State School with placards at drop-off time yesterday morning.
The message was simple "stop bullying at the school".
Mrs Hewett's daughter is in Year 6 and has been bullied most of the year.
The nurse claims her daughter has been threatened physically, verbally and in writing at the school.
Other protesters backed up the accusations, saying their children had seen the bullying first-hand.
The name-calling her daughter receives is constant and debilitating.
"It's really derogatory... I don't want to repeat it," Mrs Hewett said.
The bullying has taken a toll emotionally, with the 11-year-old seeing a doctor because of suicidal thoughts.
"My daughter has said to me, 'I really don't want to be here any more,'" Mrs Hewett said.
The family has spoken to the school, the education department and the minister about the issue.
"All they say is that our daughter needs help to deal with bullies," Mrs Hewett said.
"I said 'she might be a little bit soft, but what is happening with the bullies?'
"We took her out of school for a while... she just came back this week and the bullying started again.
"Now there over 30 kids bullying my daughter.
"I don't know what else to do."
Teachers have protected Mrs Hewett's daughter by keeping her away from other children.
But that just makes her feel excluded according to Mrs Hewett.
The protest was designed to raise awareness of the problem with parents at the school as they dropped their children off.
Mrs Hewett was nervous about the move but wanted parents to talk to their children about bullying at home.
"I don't expect all kids to get along," Mrs Hewett said.
"But if you don't have anything nice to say you shouldn't say anything at all."
Fellow protester Michelle Barton agreed.
She said the bullying talk needed to be mandatory at home, just like the stranger-danger talk.
"You talk to your kids about stranger danger, bullying is the same thing," Ms Barton said.
"You sit down and explain to them what is acceptable... and how to deal with your feelings.
"At the end of the day bullying is about not being able to express how you feel."
Supporter Rhiannon Hearn said the important thing to come out of the protest was for people who are being bullied to know they are not alone.
"If you kids are being bullied, there are other people in the community facing the same issue," Ms Hearn said.
"Her daughter needs to know, 'hey this is happening to me, if it's happening to you let's be friends'.
"Let's start a support network."
A spokesperson for the Department of Education and Training said they treat any matter involving student welfare seriously and with the utmost priority.
"Moore Park State School takes a zero tolerance approach to bullying and promotes a safe learning environment for the entire school community," the spokesman said.
"Using the school-wide Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) model, the school uses a range of strategies to help create a safe and supportive environment including regular lessons about respectful relationships and appropriate social skills, programs around safety and responsibility, and rewards for good behaviour.
"Staff and guidance officers also work closely to support student welfare and wellbeing.
"Consequences for inappropriate behaviour are based on individual circumstances and dealt with in line with the school's Responsible Behaviour Plan for Students.
"The school has worked closely and extensively with a family which raised concerns and will continue to support their child whose best interests are at heart.
"Due to student privacy no further information can be provided."