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Mummy I wish I was dead so I won't suffer any more; BULLIED NINE-YEAR-OLD'S HEARTBREAK DIARY.


ALITTLE girl of nine has revealed her "diary of despair" at the hands of school bullies

Jessica O'Connell kept a log of the daily terror that drove her to the brink of suicide.

One heart-breaking entry reads: "Mummy I wish I was dead so I don't have to suffer any more pain. I love you."

Jessica was tormented for almost two years by a girl in her class who physically and verbally abused her until, in desperation, she began to harm herself.

She picked at her own skin and made herself sick in the hope she would be kept off school. Mum Sarah, 33, said: "She used to cry and scream at me not to leave her."

Sarah and her husband Graham, 36, told teachers at St Wilfred Roman Catholic School in Ripon, North Yorks, but the bully was suspended for just one day.

The furious couple want her expelled and are now keeping Jessica at home.

Sarah said: "Jessica has been punched, kicked through the back of her chair and pushed over.

THE bully once even threatened to drown Jessica during their swimming lesson."

Kidscape, the children's charity, came up with the idea for Jessica to keep a diary and the entries make for harrowing reading.

In one entry, she wrote: "Today was the worst day ever. She threatened to kill me if I didn't let her hit me so I had to let her hit me because I didn't want to die."

Just days later, she added: "She is still trying to hit me. I wish I could die so I don't have to suffer the pain. I am really upset."

Jessica goes on to describe how she and three other little girls were all hit by the same bully in one playtime.

Sarah and Graham, who live in Ripon with their two other children - Thomas, 12, and Emily, five - said the problems have continued despite promises from teachers.

Sarah said: "A week ago, she was assaulted so badly at school that they had to take pictures of her injuries.

A girl had punched her so hard in the back that the rings on her hand had broken the skin."

Jessica's parents met the education authority and social services as well as their parish priest and the headteacher last week but they were left unsatisfied by the answers they received.

Sarah said: "I said to them 'So you can't guarantee the safety of my child at the school?' and the head said 'No'." She was also told that the girl had not done enough to be expelled.

But, Sarah said: "What does a pupil have to do? Does she have to kill someone?

"Their solution was that next year the girl would be moved up a year while Jessica would stay down. But why should she?

"Why should the bully get an education while my daughter suffers?"

The family is considering moving now so Jessica can join a new school and Graham said: "We just don't have anywhere else to turn."

Sarah added: "The latest incident was the last straw. We have to help the victims.

THEY gave the bully counselling but it hasn't stopped."

A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council refused to discuss the case but said: "The school has a very effective protection policy." Last night the Mirror put the allegations to head teacher Peter Burdekin but he refused to discuss the details.

He said: "The school is committed to the safety and well being of its children. The school takes all allegations of bullying seriously and investigates in line with its well established anti-bullying policy.

"We will continue to work hard at resolving the situation to the benefit of all parties."

Official figures show one in five children subjected to persistent severe bullying will attempt suicide. On average, 16 every year will succeed.

Earlier this month, 16-year-old Karl Peart was found dead after an overdose. He had switched schools four times to avoid his tormentors.

And, last week, Gemma Dimmick, 15, a pupil from the same Northumberland school, also died after an apparent overdose.


DON'T MAKE ME GO: Jessica becomes afraid of school; FEAR: Jessica reveals threat; DESPAIR: Jessica puts her feelings on paper
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 25, 2003
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