Tuesday, March 9, 2010

who's really responsible?

Bashed boy's mum seeks new bullying laws
from AAP

The mother of a 12-year-old boy bashed at a police-run disco is demanding new laws to ensure young bullies pay for their actions.

Lynette Bishop has issued a direct challenge to Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, saying laws are needed to protect children suffering at the hands of bullies.

She said her son was scared and angry after being beaten by a group of young boys at a blue-light disco on the Sunshine Coast on Friday night.

She said she intends to press charges but police had warned her that the case has little chance of making it to court.

"We're going to go ahead and try and lay charges," Ms Bishop told the ABC.

"But at the end of the day, as we've been advised by police, they're not really going to be able to do anything because Queensland legislation is such that every attempt must be made by the police to avoid laying charges on a minor."

Even if the case made it to court, Ms Bishop said, police had advised that the likely outcome would be a warning for those involved.

She said there had been too many cases of extreme bullying and the government must act.

"I am as sad as I am mad about what is not being done by our politicians.

"There's nothing in place now, despite what Anna Bligh said on the news last night that there are strict guidelines and policies in place - that's absolute rubbish.

"I can't even get a restraining order out against these boys to protect my own son because they are too young."

Laws were needed to "re-empower" police, teachers and parents, she said.

"I issue a challenge to her to come back to me within a three-month period as to what she's doing to change the legislation and exactly what legislation she (Ms Bligh) thinks is in place to protect our young."

Comment was being sought from the premier's office.

Ms Bishop said her son was fearful, given that one of his assailants attended his school.

"My son was strangled to the point where his throat was so swollen afterwards that we were concerned about his ability to breath.

"He's better physically, the bruises are fading, the swelling is going down, but emotionally he's a scared little boy and he's angry."

Meanwhile, the father of a 12-year-old accused of leading the group bashing said he felt powerless to stop his son's behaviour.

The father said he's sickened by allegations that his son was among a group of six boys who bashed another boy, also 12, at a police-run youth disco on the Sunshine Coast on Friday.

The young victim was admitted to hospital with concussion and has told reporters he now fears for his life.

The father of the accused 12-year-old says he and his wife are good parents but they've struggled to control their son.

The man, who has not been identified, told the Sunshine Coast Daily his son had himself been a victim of bullying.

"My son has expressed his remorse at what happened and as parents me and my wife are trying to get to the bottom of what triggered this behaviour," he said.

"We're getting him into some programs to see if there is an underlying condition that's causing this.

"We've tried so hard but in the end we can't control what our son does."

He said that if he'd known what his son was allegedly planning he would not have allowed him to go to the Blue Light Disco.

"We're good parents. We try and it's really hurtful people blame this on us," he said.

"We've tried disciplining him by taking away privileges but that doesn't work.

"And if we ground him he takes it out on us or runs away from home. It's so confusing to know what to do."

Police are investigating the bashing at the disco at Buderim. They have not said how many officers were present at the youth event at the time of the attack.

this is hard. mum and dad trying their best with behavioural issues at home and then Little Johnny goes to the disco and clobbers someone else over the head. the parents of the 12 year old accused of leading the group of boys in this story are to be commended for facing the music and accepting responsibility. we like parents like that. we feel their deep embarrassment that their offspring behave in such an abhorrent way, but beyond this will there be any consequences for their son, beyond 'getting him into programs'? this poses a broader difficult question: as children grow into adolescents how much control are parents expected to reasonably have when it comes to disciplining their children in relation to bullying and intimidating others?

tell us what you think.

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