Bullies threaten to rearrange teen’s face – Fearful mother keeps her daughter at home amid ugly threats

A 13-year-old student at a Corporate Area high school is scared to attend school because of bullies at the institution, who have reportedly threatened to “rearrange har face”.

The student, whose identity is being withheld by this newspaper, said her life has been made a living hell at the school. She said the situation is so bad that she had developed suicidal thoughts.

“It affects my self-confidence, it makes me feel like I’m ugly, it makes me feel like I’m dunce and I’m not special,” the student said. “More time I feel like I want to kill myself. It makes me feel like I want to die.”

The student said she has been called disgusting names since she started the school nearly a year ago. She said her classmates have constantly insulted her physical appearance resulting in her becoming insecure.

“They trouble me about my forehead, and I got insecure about it. They say I’m ugly, they say I’m dunce that I should go back to either basic school or primary school, or go back to the school that I’m coming from.”

The school administration, when contacted by THE STAR, said it takes all cases of bullying seriously.

“We are aware of an issue and the matter is under investigation,” its vice-president said.

Bullying has been a prevalent problem in Jamaican schools. A 2015 study conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund found that six in 10 Jamaican students say they have been bullied at some point in their lives.

Stewart Jacobs, president of the National Parent-Teacher Association of Jamaica, said it is his hope that the relevant authorities will take the matter seriously and act accordingly.

“I hope that the education system finds a way to identify the perpetrators and to stem what is happening,” Jacobs said.

The student, who has a poor attendance record at her school, said she is scared to attend out of fear that she will be assaulted. She showed this reporter a social media message thread in which two of her classmates promised to “rearrange har face” and step inna ar throat” if she ever returned to school.

The student’s mother said she is fearful of sending her daughter back to school. She did not send her daughter to school on Monday to prevent further harassment and a potential assault. Prior to that, she did not send her daughter to school for two weeks because of the constant bullying.

“I feel helpless, like I’m unable to help…I feel like I have failed as a mother. I had faith in God that was shattered. You know I’ve been trying to hold it together, emotionally, because I want to be strong for her, but it’s been a challenge. I lock away and cry a lot,” the mother told THE STAR.

The situation has severely affected the child’s academic progress because she is unable to focus in class, and is unable to sit her current internal exams.

“Based on what I look at personally, mentally she’s down and I don’t think I can put exams ahead of her mental health right now. I think it’s at that point that it needs to be fixed because she’s not even focused,” the mother said.

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