LESLEY KEATING: Bullying can blight young lives – teachers must act

The impact of bullying can be devastating
(Picture by Shutterstock)
The impact of bullying can be devastating (Picture by Shutterstock)
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IF you have been watching EastEnders, you will be aware that teenagers Bex Fowler and Louise Mitchell are being systematically bullied by two girls at school, the objectionable Madison and her sidekick Alexandra.

There was also a harrowing story in the press about a very pretty young Polish girl who sadly hanged herself after victimisation from girls at school for being different.

Teenage girls can be relentlessly cruel on the scent of what they perceive as a threat to their territory.

I was bullied at school many years ago. I didn’t fit the classic victim profile either – my level of self-esteem was fine, I had friends, I wasn’t a nerd or a geek.

I was just a normal fashion-conscious youngster, interested in boys, pop music and clothes.

But my crime, it transpired, was that I’d come from a junior school in an area perceived as posh.

Being different in any way is enough. Unluckily for me, I didn’t fit in as I wasn’t a pack animal and didn’t follow the crowd.

One of the many taunts was ‘snob’ because my bullies felt I spoke differently to them. It doesn’t sound a lot, but day after day those cat-calls gradually eroded my confidence.

The majority of the attacks were verbal, ridicule or exclusion rather than physical.

But they completely blighted my school life, making me fearful of what each day would bring.

My parents even met with the head-teacher but nothing changed.

Looking back now I know this eventually made me stronger. But it could have been so different.

Years later my stepson had issues at school, however, when we went to see the head, we were categorically told ‘bullying is not an issue here’.

Lots of children are soon leaving the relative sanctuary of juniors to start at senior school so teachers, please be vigilant.

Help kids to integrate, sniff out potential issues and act on them quickly.

And parents, teach your kids to be kind, tolerant and to be brave enough to tell if they think someone’s in danger of being bullied.

It just as easy to be nice instead of cruel.

CELEBRITY CONSPIRACY THEORIES LEAVE MY MIND TRULY BOGGLED

Iread a fascinating conspiracy theory which suggested Beatles drummer Ringo Starr confessed to an incredible claim – that the real Paul McCartney died in a car crash in 1966 at the height of their fame.

Apparently, the winner of a Paul look-a-like competition, Billy Shears, was used as a stand-in and the deception continued thereon.

Other celebrity conspiracy theories featuring the likes of Avril Lavigne, Beyoncé and Eminem abound in the music industry.

It’s not a new phenomenon either.

In the 1500s, Elizabeth I allegedly died of a virus and was secretly replaced by a similar-looking teenage boy.

Could this explain why the Virgin Queen wore wigs, shaved, and never had children?

Very strange.

‘TAWDRY’ LOVE ISLAND IS FAR LESS RISQUÉ THAN YOU THINK

Good God, what is wrong with some of the British national press?

In referring to popular ITV2 show Love Island the other day, a tabloid journalist proclaimed how disgraceful the programme’s sexual antics were, claiming several couples were shown having sex on national TV.

They were outraged that Ofcom hadn’t intervened.

Err… no. It’s not actually like that at all.

The content is light-hearted – a relationship-themed fun game show.

The most you actually see is couples briefly snuggling under duvets, kissing and cuddling.

Stop channelling Mary Whitehouse and getting your knickers in a twist.

Maybe actually watch the programme you are dubbing ‘tawdry’ before you comment