Schoolgirl ‘repeatedly punched in face’
A QUEENSLAND grandmother has taken the drastic step of pulling her six-year-old granddaughter out of school after she was being repeatedly punched in the face.
Kim Den Hertog claims her granddaughter Summah Hillhouse has been dealing with relentless bullying for months at her state school.
She said the family was left with no choice but to take Summah out of school as it refused to deal with the situation.
We are meant to send our children to school to learn and to be protected, but they're not being protected. It's ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous," Ms Den Hertog told A Current Affair.
She claims in one instance a group of boys at the school even exposed themselves to Summah, while another girl repeatedly punched her in the face.
"She has been called names, she's had her hair pulled, punched and pushed over … this girl has hit her I don't even know how many times," Ms Den Hertog said.
But shockingly, when the little girl went to teachers for help, they told her it was not bullying.
She explained that teachers would say to her, "Summah it is not called bullying, she doesn't do it to you every single day."
"It made me feel sad," Summah said.
After telling her parents she was too scared to go to school, they made the decision to take her out.
"I didn't want to go anymore because I was scared I was going to get bullied," Summah said.
Ms Den Hertog told A Current Affair: "You can't send a six-year-old to school when she is frightened. It's like then we become the abusers."
Child psychologist Dr Justin Coulson said around one in four children now report being bullied, with cases intensifying around the age of eight or nine.
He says schools need to act after the first instance and not wait for it to escalate.
"We are seeing more and more families saying enough is enough. This is not OK and something needs to be done," Dr Coulson said.
"Too many kids are not learning how to treat other people nicely, and sadly it is because of what they see at home and it's because of what they see in the media - it's what they experience in the schoolyard," Dr Coulson said.
Since Ms Den Hertog posted about her experience on Facebook she has been approached by other families in the same position.
"I know she's not the only child and were not the only family dealing with it."
She's now trying to get Summah into another school before term four starts.
Summah's message to bullies: "I would say stop bullying somebody because that's not nice."
In a response to the story on A Current Affair, the Education Department has said it takes bullying seriously and has strict policies in place to handle complaints.