Parents blast school for failing to expel bullies who left autistic son feeling “suicidal” after tying him to a tree
A father claims his 12-year-old autistic son has been left suicidal after allegedly being tied to a tree by school bullies.
Harry Gosling says he has been repeatedly targeted by boys and girls who he says have made his life a misery.
The “appalling bullying”, which is said to have included physical attacks and verbal abuse where Harry was told “do your parents a favour and kill yourself”, has now led to him suffering seizures and night terrors.
He’s now been pulled out of lessons by his outraged parents who have blasted the school for failing to take proper action.
Harry’s dad Graeme Hunt, 33, said: “When Harry first went to the school it was great, he had a good first six months, he made friends but now it has got so bad he can’t go back.
“It is no longer a safe environment for him, it is disgusting what the bullies have done to him.
“We send him to school to be in a safe environment and to learn but this is affecting his education.
“The school will not help him. They’re letting him get picked on and it is not playing. It’s evil.”
Harry, who is in Year 8 at Brentwood County High School, Essex, also has ADHD which his dad says makes him vulnerable to bullies.
Since the bullying began two years ago, he claims incidents have included having his trousers and pants were pulled down at sports day and others where he was punched, kicked and a time when a pupil tried to hang him from a tree.
The school apologised for the “appalling bullying” in a report by the school’s chair of governors, Rosemary Lovett.
It focused on three alleged incidents across two academic years and conceded there was evidence of the sports day incident and the perpetrator was isolated.
The report also states that CCTV footage failed to capture the last attack on September 30, in which Harry was lured over to play football with some boys who attacked him and told him “never to grass on them again”.
Mr Hunt says the the incident wasn’t caught on camera as the boys deliberately kicked the football down the field away from view.
He has criticised the school for not taking robust action and expelling his son’s tormentors.
“I don’t think isolating this boy (bully) is good enough,” he said. I don’t want my son to commit suicide
“He’s not in the right frame of mind. I don’t want to find he has topped himself.
Mr Hunt and his wife, Lauren Gosling Hunt, claim they were promised the bully would expelled if Harry’s abuse continued.
Mrs Gosling, 32, said: “The duty head arranged a meeting which we attended, we were promised that they are taken it very seriously and all involved had been given a two-day isolation in the hall and I was happy but had to take their world that this would stop them bulling my son.
“We were told that if the bully ever done anything to Harry again that he (bully) would be asked to find a new school.”
Mrs Lovatt denies allegations that Harry’s parents were promised the bully would be excluded permanently if he continued to target Harry.
She continued: “A teacher relayed to Mr and Mrs Gosling his conversation with students after the incident on September 19 when he said to the students that ‘if things happen of such a serious nature again, we may be having a conversation about finding you another school’.
“This was said to demonstrate how serious the bullying was and not as a promise of future sanctions.
“All the staff interviewed felt strongly that Harry’s lack of social skills is a significant factor, as he often unintentionally winds up students without either the intention of doing so or a full understanding of how this happens.”
Harry has not returned to school since the incident on September 30, he has gone to stay with relatives in Devon as he does not feel safe at school.
Mrs Lovatt added: “The behaviour of the young people involved is unacceptable and they have received sanctions to reflect this. They will also be monitored closely during school hours to avoid any recurrence.
“Harry has a right to be safe and happy at our school. Through the hard work and dedication of staff, I am confident that we can demonstrate our determination to keep Harry in our school and provide for his needs in such a way that he can flourish and feel happy and safe.”
Responding to Harry’s parents’ concerns, headteacher Stephen Drew said: “We are incredibly saddened that any such incident could occur in our school and disappointed that any young person faces these issues.
“Obviously this is entirely unpleasant and it’s the responsibility of the school to deal with the matter and to investigate and take appropriate action.
“I recognise that Mr and Mrs Gosling don’t agree with the actions we have taken. We have issued sanctions to resolve the matter.
“We have investigated the complaint and we will continue to work to support Harry and resolve the situation for everyone involved.
“It’s a very difficult and emotive situation.”