Girl, 14, left with severe social anxiety after vile ‘homophobic bullying’ at Sheffield school

A Sheffield girl has been left with ‘severe social anxiety’ after being bullied since starting secondary school in Year 7.

By Rahmah Ghazali
Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 2:17 pm

The parents, who requested to remain anonymous, have claimed their daughter has been a victim of bullying since she started at Westfield School.

Now in Year 9, the parents said nothing much has changed despite raising the matter to the teaching members of staff, including the headteacher Joe Birkbeck.

The mum said: "The bullying has been going on since our daughter started going to the school in 2019, when she was in Year 7.

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Westfield School

"It's always been the group of kids who bully her, a lot of name calling, including homophobic names, and throwing food at her during an incident last Monday at the dining hall.

"One of her friends was also pushed in front of the tram. It's been horrible bullying from she was in Year 7, and all we ever got was, 'We are looking into it.'"

She also said the situation worsened when her daughter made her sexuality public last year where her bullies would constantly pick on her with all sorts of homophobic names.

The mum said the ongoing bullying has also caused her daughter to have 'severe social anxiety'.

"I was considering removing her for the rest of the week but she didn't want to because she wanted to make sure her friends are okay. She is a very caring girl and doesn't like her friends being bullied."

And on Friday, she said her daughter received a 'death threat' allegedly from one of her bullies in school, to which she had filed a police report.

South Yorkshire Police confirmed to have received the complaint, and treated it as a 'hate crime' as it involved discrimination against her sexuality.

In response, Head of Westfield School Joe Birkbeck said: “We take all allegations of bullying extremely seriously at Westfield. We have a very clear anti-bullying policy and we would never ignore any allegations of bullying.

"We have worked with the student in question during her time at our school and continue to provide ongoing pastoral support to her.

"The students involved in the dining room incident were given appropriate sanctions, and this was followed up with conversations with their parents, so they were aware of their behaviour.

"Another allegation of bullying was made this week and we began investigating this as soon as it was made."

The school also said they have been supporting the student amid bullying due to her sexual orientation.

He said: “We run an LGBTQ+ group in school which includes students from most years. They have been instrumental in helping us educate all of our students about homophobic bullying, including producing resources as part of anti-bullying week.

"The group has worked with our Subject Leader for PSHE to further develop that part of the curriculum to ensure it reflects up-to-date issues relating to LGBTQ+ young people.

"We also regularly provide support to our students in discussing their sexuality with parents and family members.

"Like all schools, we recognise that tackling any form of discrimination and bullying in school is an ongoing issue. But it is something we will never shy away from."