An autistic teenager who has suffered verbal abuse throughout his time at senior school has spoken out in a bid to beat the bullies.
Brave Daniel Heppenstall has issued a plea to school pupils across Sheffield who torment classmates to think about the impact name-calling has on victims.
The 15-year-old, of Gleadless, says he struggles to concentrate and dreads the thought of going in to Birley Community College, Thornbridge Avenue, as he been bullied on an almost daily basis for three years.
Both Daniel and his parents Martyn and Sharon have complained to teachers but claim punishments dished out do little to deter the perpetrators.
Daniel said: “It’s been going on since I started high school. I’ll report them and it goes off for a bit but it’ll just start happening again.
“I get called names when I walk through the corridor, I get the mick taken out of me in lessons. I feel rubbish all the time.
“They just do it to have a laugh. I don’t think people realise what it can do or the impact it can have.
“I’ve had enough of it now. I just want to be able to enjoy school life like other kids.”
His passion for buses and the world of transport, which means he travels to neighbouring cities regularly, has been ridiculed by other pupils in his year.
Daniel said: “They seem to use my autism to get at me. It’s usually a group of the same people but it can come from anyone.”
The youngster hopes that by sharing his story he will be left alone to study hard during a crucial time – preparing for his GCSE exams next summer.
He is also keen to spread the message to other teenagers to embrace differences in fellow school pupils.
Dad Martyn believes his son’s learning difficulties have made him an easy target for bullies.
He said: “A lot of it happens when he is travelling from lesson to lesson, in corridors, out of the sight of teachers. He’s leaving next year and his life has been made hell.
“Daniel’s had problems since he was born.
“The school has tried dealing with it but Daniel just wanted to get his point across, to try to get these bullies and other ones to think about what they’re doing and how it affects people.
“His mum and I think he’s brave for speaking about it.”
Birley Community College did not wish to comment.