Mum Colleen O'Connor is standing up and speaking out against bullying. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Mum Colleen O'Connor is standing up and speaking out against bullying. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Mother's horror: ‘Make their school safe’

A HORRIFIED Kirwan mother has spoken out after her daughter was filmed being attacked by a peer in the middle of a busy shopping centre.

Colleen O'Connor's 14-year-old daughter Brooke was at Stockland Townsville with a friend on Thursday afternoon when a girl, understood to be in her grade and wearing a Pimlico State High School uniform, was filmed yelling taunts at Brooke before a physical fight broke out.

Ms O'Connor said her daughter was left bruised by the fight, but little disciplinary action had been taken.

"You can see on the video that she's taunting Brooke to come outside and Brooke was deflecting repeatedly," Ms O'Connor said.

"That girl wouldn't take no for an answer and started on her right then and there, which just shows the aggression, but the audacity to do it in a public place shows zero care for authority, zero care for anybody. They shouldn't even be fighting; I do not ­condone this kind of behaviour, it's ­disgusting."

Ms O'Connor said the ­tension started at the beginning of the school year when Brooke stood up for another student who was being bullied on school grounds.

"That aggressor basically turned to her and said 'you're next'," she said.

Ms O'Connor contacted the police and the school ­immediately, but little was able to be done.

"(The police) were saying they've been banned for 12 months from Stockland, which is all well and good, but how is that going to be ­patrolled?" she said.

"I went to the school, spoke to someone there, told them the names, told them the scenario, and all they said was 'we'll investigate'.

"I said, well, I cannot bring her back to school until I know that it's safe."

Ms O'Connor was not ­informed the Department of Education and Training were aware of the incident until a response from the Department was published in the Townsville Bulletin on Friday.

"This is what it had to take. It had to take a video to get out of hand in a Pimlico uniform in plain view for something to be done," she said.

"The school didn't ring me back. After I went in and saw the school, that's the last I've heard from them."

Ms O'Connor said she would send her daughter back to school when the school contacted her directly to ­update her on the situation.

"I don't want my daughter missing out on her education because of these (people); it's her right to have an education and it's the school's duty to give her a safe haven to do that," she said.

"I should not have to move Brooke from her friends ­because she has to watch her back.

"I understand that there's so much red tape but at the end of the day, school is there for these kids and if you can't protect these kids and have a safe learning environment, what's the use of the school?

Ms O'Connor said while she wanted the bullies punished appropriately, more permanent solutions were needed.

"I don't care whether these kids are 14, they need more than a rap on the knuckles," she said.

"I want an apology, I want (the bully) expelled from the school to make it a safer place and I would ­encourage the parents to maybe get her some help."

Ms O'Connor said she was inundated with messages after the video went public from young girls and parents who had been through the same situation.



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