Norman and Tina Harker are worried for the welfare of their taunted son, Kerrod (middle).
Norman and Tina Harker are worried for the welfare of their taunted son, Kerrod (middle).

Too scared to go to school



SCHOOLYARD bullies terror- ised Kerrod Harker until he was taken away in an ambulance.

Perhaps it was because the Rock- hampton ninth-grader was quiet and polite to teachers.

Perhaps it was because they knew he wouldn't fight back. Whatever the reasons, the 13- year-old is now too scared to go to school.

Kerrod spent three days in hos- pital with concussion after a punch to the face deflected his head into a brick wall.

Another time X-rays were done of his ribs after he was slammed into port racks.

Last Thursday's trashing of his bike "beyond repair'' added to his woes from last year, and was the last straw for his mother, Tina Harker.

"How much more can the poor kid take?'' Mrs Harker asked yes- terday.

"It's beyond a joke.'' She said she felt like taking her son out of Rockhampton State High School but didn't have that option.

"I'd pull him out today if I could find him a permanent job. "We live near the airport. He can't ride his (replacement) bike to the northside to go to school.''

Mrs Harker said the taunts had affected Kerrod's attitude to- wards school.

Often he refuses to attend. His acceptable grades had dropped off during third term last year, around the same time he was put into hospital.

"By fourth term he was failing every single subject,'' she said.

Kerrod said he had not pro- voked the bullies or given them any reason to target him.

Mrs Harker said her son was probably picked on because he was "too soft''.

"They (bullies) know he won't fight back.''

Mr Harker agreed, saying his son was an easy target.

Mr and Mrs Harker described their son as quiet and polite.

Mrs Harker said the school had told her that a boy had admitted to trashing Kerrod's bike.

"All he got was four days sus- pension. He did something wrong and he gets four days off school. It's hardly punishment is it?''

Education Queensland yester- day released a statement saying Rockhampton State High School had thoroughly investigated the bike incident.

It said the school had taken ap- propriate disciplinary action in line with its behaviour manage- ment plan and code of conduct.

"There is no evidence to sug- gest the incident is the result of ongoing bullying or is in any way related to an incident that oc- curred last year,'' it said.

The statement said the school treated the safety of students as its highest priority and did not tolerate bullying or harassment in any form.



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