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Bullied Australian Teen gets Income for Life

By Chris V. Thangham     May 14, 2007 in World
Australian Court awards a teenager more than one million dollars in damages for being bullied in a public school.
An Australian teenager was awarded record damages including a lifetime income Monday after a court found that his life had been ruined by bullying at primary school.
Benjamin Cox, now 18, was six years old when he was regularly bullied by an older, disturbed pupil at Woodberry Public School, north of Sydney.
Judge Carolyn Simpson, New South Wales Supreme Court, said the state “grossly failed” in its duty to protect Benjamin. Because of the bullying, Benjmain suffers from severe psychiatric condition.
Benjamin’s mother told the court, the boy got totally scared to go to school after he was bullied by the older student, who tried to strangle Benjamin in February 1995. When she went and complained to the school, the Depart of Education officer told her that, “bullying builds character”.
When Angela Cox told the principal in September 1995 that she was taking her son out of school because of the bullying, she said he replied: "You lose some kids and keep some."
Since she got no help from the school, and her son refusing to go to school, it only became worse. Her son began to have recurrent nightmares and headaches, crying all the time and also developed a severe stutter.
He refused to use public toilets after telling his mother the older pupil jumped out from buildings -- including the school toilets -- and scared him.
Judge Simpson said his adolescence has been all but destroyed but his adulthood will become the same and will never have a chance to work. He will be suffering from anxiety and depression all his life. He has no friends and will not make any based on his condition. She based on her judgment on the psychiatric evidence presented during the trial; the bullying was the initiating factor that led to the teenager’s current condition described as “separation anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression”.
As a result the Judge awarder Angela Cox more than $213,000 Australian Dollars ($177,500 US Dollars) plus a weekly allowance for life, this is expected to be more than a million dollars in total.
Prime Minister John Howard is also planning new measures to give more powers to School Principals to address bullying behaviors.
Benjamin and his mother deserve this settlement for all the trauma and damages it has caused their family.
I think kids should be taught martial arts to protect themselves for bullying. It is getting worse with all kinds of things that are happening at school.
How do we solve these bullying problems in school? It seems no one is taking any measures in schools to prevent such behavior.
Also, read this article from Posthappy about bullying.
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