Bullying in high schools is unfortunately something that’s incredibly difficult to eliminate entirely.
Kids will be kids and, though frustrating, the learning phase of their lives – where they discern for themselves between what’s right and wrong – can sometimes entail behavior many of them will come to regret in later life.
Yet whilst nearly all of us will ‘break the rules’ at one time or another, seriously picking on someone in a more vulnerable position than ourselves is taking it a step too far. For 15-year-old Nathaniel Dryden, his life was made a misery by certain students at his school. He struggled through each day at the Merrill Academy in Derbyshire, but even he wouldn’t have anticipated what was to come on one fateful day …
The teen, from Shelton Lock, Derbyshire, UK had already been the subject of an assault by a bully at his school.
Unfortunately, the officials at the school clearly didn’t do enough to enforce preventative measures so that it wouldn’t happen again. Nathaniel was attacked a second time, only on this occasion it was more serious.
On February 16, Nathaniel was punched so hard in the face that his glasses shattered. The shards cut deep into his face, releasing a rush of blood so intense that Nathaniel himself thought he was bleeding to death. The jagged pieces of glass missed his eye by an inch, but the teen’s injuries were severe all the same.
Not only does the 15-year-old now need to recover from his wounds, but also from the psychological trauma inflicted upon him in a place where he thought himself safe.
Both of the attacks on Nathaniel were unprovoked. His father, Mick, a nurse practitioner, relayed the story to the Daily Mail: “The first attack was on the 23 January. A lad approached my son and started punching him several times for no reason. We were told he was suspended for a period of time.”
Sadly, the bully only had his friend go after Nathaniel, resulting in the incident that saw him almost blinded.
“Last Wednesday [February 16] was when the second attack happened,” Mick continued. “Another lad approached him and asked him if he thought this lad’s girlfriend was a s**t. He said he’d tell his friend that he called her a s**t when he didn’t. Nathaniel protested and said he never said anything like that.”
“It was one punch but it was so vicious. It was horrific. His glasses smashed and that’s caused him serious facial injuries. He was covered in blood. At first he thought he was dying because of how much blood there was. It didn’t stop. He was covered.”
Nathaniel was then taken to the hospital straight from school, where the bleeding was brought under control.
“I’m heartbroken at what happened. No dad ever wants to see their son like that. It was very traumatic. I was speechless. It was an evil attack,” said Mick.
Although, as aforesaid, it’s difficult to rigidly control interactions between children at a school, incidents as extreme as this one should never be allowed to be carried out. We need to be better at spotting the signs of ongoing bullying and intervening where necessary, lest we continue to allow schools to become breeding grounds for the bullies of the future.
There is simply no excuse for bullying of this nature to be permitted to continue as it exists. Nathaniel’s case is terrible but, regretfully, not isolated. Only through communication and awareness can we hope to wipe out the scourge that is bullying.
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