Mother has promised to go to jail rather than send her daughter, with Asperger's syndrome, back to school where she was bullied|
LURGAN, Northern Ireland: The defiant mother of an 11-year-old girl with Asperger's syndrome who suffered a broken bone in an alleged bullying attack vowed on November 25 to go to prison.
The worried mother, Margaret Graham, told Sunday Life that she was willing to be jailed if she was forced by the Southern Education and Library Board to send her daughter, Carrie, back to school.
The young girl has been off school for two weeks, after she was attacked outside Lurgan Junior High School earlier this month.
Graham told how her daughter was subjected to a terrifying ordeal by a girl pupil, who, she claims, called her vile names before punching, kicking and jumping on her.
The mum-of-two said that Carrie was chased from Lurgan Junior High's after-school project, which is located just outside the school, before being set upon.
Said Graham, of Toberhewny Hall: "If it means my daughter not getting another beating by being off school, then I will go to prison. She has already been off for two weeks, but if I have to keep her off for two years I will do it. No child should have to go through what she went through.
"All I am asking is that the school guarantees her safety, and until they are able to do that she won't be going back to school." I've had a meeting with the school, but nothing else has been planned and I am still very angry at this whole situation.
"I moved here because it meant Carrie being close to a school and I don't want to put her on any buses. Once I get the assurance she will be safe, then she will be going back to school."
Mr Johnston, the school's principal, confirmed the young girl had not returned to school.
He said: "The school is trying to resolve this issue and is hoping to have a meeting with Mrs Graham to discuss it. I can assure everyone that the school environment is as safe as any post primary setting in Northern Ireland and that we have policies, practices and procedures in place to ensure this is the case."
A police spokeswoman said: "Police are investigating a report of an assault on an 11-year-old girl outside a school in Lurgan."
(Source: Belfast Telegraph, November 26, 2006)