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Head sparks bullying row.

Byline: By Catherine Lillington

A SCHOOL head teacher has sparked controversy among parents by telling them: "One child hitting another child is not bullying."

Head Kevin Cockroft made the remark in a newsletter to mums and dads of children at William Cowper Community School in Newtown. He also told parents: n A group of children calling another child a name is NOT bullying.

n A child throwing another child's coat on the floor is NOT bullying. He added: "These things are WRONG but they are not bullying."

The comments have divided parents at the school, which caters for children aged from four to 11.

Some accused Mr Cockcroft of failing to take an early stand against bullying while others said the issue was taken seriously by the school.

One frustrated mum who claims her son is being battered by a bully at the primary school was "fuming" at the letter.

Melissa Robertson, who claims her five-year-old son Bradley has become a regular victim of bullying, today demanded an explanation from the head.

"If a child being hit by another child is not bullying, what is?" said the 32-year-old single parent, who works full time as a post office counter clerk.

"Bradley's been beaten up about half a dozen times since September and to me it seems the school has done nothing. This letter is playing down bullying and it shouldn't be allowed.

"Children take drastic action to escape being bullied. What will it take before a child at primary school does the same?"

Melissa, who lives in Guest Grove, Hockley, and has another child, seven-year-old Caitlin, said in one attack her daughter and another boy had to pull the bully off Bradley, who was being punched in the stomach.

She added: "My son's already making excuses about not going to school and he's not doing very well. I'm worried this is holding him back but I can't be in two places at once.

"Bradley's just over a metre tall and wears a three-year-old's clothes. All the other kids have got bigger but he hasn't grown." The letter also tells children and parents what steps to take if the attacks continue and what action the school takes in such cases.

A city council spokeswoman said: "There was an incident involving this pupil some weeks ago, which was investigated and was found to be unsubstantiated.

"The parent was made aware of the outcome and she has not made any contact with the school following this decision. "Any allegations of bullying are taken very seriously and are fully investigated. I would ask the parent to make contact with the head teacher as soon as possible to discuss her concerns

CAPTION(S):

ACTION... Melissa Robertson with son Bradley; LETTER ROW... William Cowper School, where the headmaster has made a statement about bullying
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 14, 2005
Words:468
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