Why then, when multiple children are harmed through bullying and violence at school, some to the point of suicide, will those MPs, official authorities and charities not act? Of course the public is also responsible for the safety and welfare of children. Why then are grieving parents who stand up to report harm to their children, faced with a wall of silence, indifference, inaction and even hostility by the very state apparatus with paid responsibility to protect children? Why do the all so powerful media companies, including the BBC of course, show faint heart in reporting the issue of bullying and suicides of children in school, or even fail to report altogether?
Why do those upstanding MPs and Right Honourable Members of Parliament shy away from meeting parents who report these tragic cases – even when the parents are their own constituents? If the matter at hand, bullying and violence, affected only a handful of children, then perhaps the usual excuse, that those in power are just too busy to be drawn into each and every individual case, applies. But the reality is very different. Thousands of children are being affected. Indications suggest the figure sits around 1 in 5 of the UK school aged population. Why the ‘suggestion? Because our Dispatches interview reveals that data on serious bullying and violence in schools is frequently not recorded, and schools get away with this because the law allows them to do so. Cases are not recorded due to poor school management and also to simply protect reputations, and cover-up.
Significantly if children’s concerns for bullying and assaults were properly recorded in schools by law, it is highly likely that children would also reveal other instances of abuse against them. Could it be that the State does not want children to have a voice to speak out to protect themselves? Many of those investigating the failure of the State to act in cases of sexual abuse of children would think so. In this remarkable Dispatches interview, Jason Barnett reveals how having blown the whistle on widespread bullying in the special school in which he was a teacher, he lost his job and was unable to gain justice at a tribunal.
More importantly he was to learn that bullying, frequently vicious and leading to physical harm including suicide, was affecting many children and families. When Jason reached out, he discovered that many of these families were traumatised and often lost – the so called child protection system having either ignored their voices of concern, or worse, warned them off.