School bully, 14, who punched, spat and terrorized classmates on Snapchat is brought to justice
A school bully who punched and spat at classmates and terrorized them on social media has been taken to court – in one of the first such cases to be reported in the UK.
The teenage bully, from Stockton, County Durham, targeted classmates with physical attacks while using the internet to bully others online.
He used apps like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook Messenger to send cruel messages. In one post, he called a female victim an “s**g” and a “big b****”.
The 14-year-old bully left a man so traumatized he stopped playing with his friends after cornering him in the toilet and threatening to ‘kill’ him if he didn’t follow his orders, including kissing the his friend’s shoes.
But now the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been taken to court after he admitted being harassed and beaten. It is not known whether he was reported to the police by the school or by the parents of his victims.
A judge yesterday called his behavior ‘horrific bullying’. She sentenced him to an eight-month restraining order and asked his mother – who told the court she was ‘deeply ashamed’ – to pay each of his victims £100.
The ‘bullying’ case is believed to be one of the first of its kind to be reported in the UK. However, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) says it is “impossible to say” whether the case is actually the first of its kind in England.
Indeed, ‘harassment’ itself is not a criminal offense in the UK, and incidents, if reported to the police, can be divided into offenses such as assault, harassment or communications malicious.
In France, on the other hand, parliamentarians voted in December to make school bullying an offense punishable by three years in prison.
The new rules, among the world’s toughest on bullying, are due to be introduced in February.
Other countries that have anti-bullying laws include Australia, where they are set by individual states, while schools that are unable to demonstrate that they are proactive in tackling bullying in Sweden can be sued by the child and are liable for any damage suffered. to a person or property.
The teenage bully, from Stockton, County Durham, targeted classmates with physical attacks while using the internet to bully others online. The case took place in Teeside Youth Court at Teeside Magistrates’ Court (pictured)
Teeside Youth Court heard how the bullying teenager’s conduct largely unfolded at the end of 2021.
One victim, a girl, had been targeted the previous year, according to the prosecution.
Bullying: When should a school contact the police?
Under government rules in the UK, public schools are required by law to have anti-bullying policies in place.
However, schools are advised that they must involve the police in acts of bullying if it involves violence or assault, theft, repeated harassment or intimidation or hate crimes.
Parents, meanwhile, are advised to report bullying to the school first – or to someone you trust if it happens outside of school, for example in a club or in line.
According to guidelines from the National Council of Chiefs of Police, when an incident occurs in which a crime has occurred or may have occurred, the school or college must determine whether to involve the police.
“Many incidents can be handled and resolved internally,” the guide says.
It adds: ‘The school or college’s behavior policy will give guidance on how to deal with and record such incidents.
“The seriousness of the incident will be a judgment call for the school or the college.
“In making this decision, the level of harm and the circumstances leading to the incident should be carefully considered.
“When the decision is made to report an incident to the police for investigation, due to the seriousness of the incident or other aggravating circumstances, the school or college should cease its own investigation, after asking sufficient questions to establish the basic facts of the incident.
“Every effort should be made by the school or college to preserve any relevant evidence.”
The NPCC guidelines also include examples of when a school should consider going to the police.
It includes broken bones in assault, hateful or sexual elements in online harassment, and high value loss in terms of theft.
The court heard that his behavior not only involved spitting and mean messages, but that the boy also threw water at the girl who was “frightened and threatened by his presence”.
Prosecutor Lynn Dalton said it culminated in an incident that left the girl in tears.
“He was cartwheeling on his bike and he deliberately rolled the bike behind his back,” she said.
The court heard how the ordeal had impacted her mental health, with the girl adding in a victim impact statement: “I still feel on edge.”
His other victim was assaulted last October.
During one incident, the bully kicked him into a cubicle before ordering him to stand in a corner.
“If you don’t, I’ll meet you after school and kill you,” he told the scared youngster, before demanding that the victim kiss the shoes of a close friend.
The court heard that after the toilet attack he texted the frightened youngster.
One included the photo of the victim emblazoned with the message: “Wanted for 100 bars”.
In his victim impact statement, the boy admitted he was afraid of what the bully was “capable of”.
“I had to change my daily routine,” he added.
“I don’t play with my friends anymore. I’m afraid of what he might do if I come into contact with him again.
The as-yet-unconvicted youth pleaded guilty to harassment and assault.
He also pleaded guilty to criminal damage following an incident last October in which he was one of a group of youths who smashed a Stockton man’s window causing £100 in damage.
“It’s clear they have no respect,” the victim said in a statement.
The boy kept his head down as the details of his offenses were broadcast.
Mitigating, his lawyer said he had expressed “profound regret” for his actions.
“He accepts all his wrongdoings,” said Alex Wood, defending. “But he can’t really explain why he behaved that way.”
The teenager was given an eight-month restraining order. He must meet with a panel and sign a contract, which will include activities to limit future violations.
And addressing the court, the youngster added: “I feel sorry for all the victims – I wish this had never happened.”
However, his behavior was criticized by District Judge Helen Cousins, who called it “horrific bullying”.
Sentencing him, Judge Cousins ordered that £100 be paid to each of his victims – his mother being forced to foot the bill.
“I accept that you are ashamed and that you are sorry,” she added.
“You may need to do something to show you’re sorry, to give (your victims) some peace of mind.”
He used apps like Snapchat (Photo: Library image), Instagram and Facebook Messenger to send cruel messages. In one post, he called a female victim an ‘s**g’ and a ‘big b****’
During Wednesday’s sentencing, the youngster’s mother apologized for her son’s behavior, while his mother spoke about the impact his actions had on their family.
“I am deeply ashamed,” she admitted.
I didn’t raise him that way. I didn’t raise him to treat people like that.
Last year, French lawmakers agreed to tough new sentences for school bullies, including up to ten years in prison for those whose victims commit suicide.
The country’s parliament considered the bill in December and the proposals won the support of Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer.
In addition to increasing resources for prevention and education, the legislation aims to create a new crime of “school bullying”.
Such an offense would be punishable by a maximum prison sentence of three years and a fine of up to 45,000 euros, depending on the seriousness of the case and the age of the culprit.