Teen 'bullied for 5 months' before video emerged

Teen 'bullied for 5 months' before video emerged
'OUTRAGEOUS': The case of alleged bullying in Shuqun Secondary School, that was caught on video in a clip that went viral, has been investigated by the school.
PHOTO: Video screengrabs, Facebook

The viral video of two boys being bullied at Shuqun Secondary School has become a talking point in S'pore. News website The Middle Ground carried this exclusive interview with one of the bullied boys on Wednesday.

Five months.

That's how long the Shuqun Secondary School student endured the bullying from his classmate.

It got so bad that he started going to school later than he would usually.

He said he didn't feel safe at school. His own mother became suspicious: "Last time when I woke up at 6.50am or 7am, I would have thought 'Oh, my son went to school already'. Now when I wake up, I still see him at home."

However, the teenager didn't tell his mother about the bullying; he didn't think it would make a difference.

After all, he had told his teacher about it once - a few months ago, when the bully attacked him with a pen by jabbing it into his skin.

Did that stop the bullying? No.

"The teacher talked to him (the bully). Then after that the teacher said she will keep a look out for him. But in the end, he still jabbed me with the pen… like four to five times… He still continued jabbing me with the pen… He threatened me after I complained."

We spoke to the teenager on Tuesday about the bullying incident in the Jurong East school that happened last Friday. The skinny boy was calm, but awkward. He fidgeted a lot, and looked slightly bewildered by the attention he has been getting ever since that video clip went viral.

Since the video was uploaded on Monday, it has been viewed close to 500,000 times and shared thousands of times on Facebook. For many parents of schoolgoing children, the incident has become a talking point about the state of bullying in schools, and what to do about it.

The mother (took the boy to make) a police report on the same day.

The 14-year-old will turn 15 next month. For most of this year, he has endured the bullying in silence, partly out of fear, but also because at first, he didn't think much of it, he said.

He tolerated random, unexplained slaps from the bully during breaks between classes and during class activities.

"He disturbed me for five months… Like when we queue up. He would come up to me and slap me behind the head," he said, adding that he thought his classmate was just horsing around. "I thought he was just joking."

Two months since the slapping started, however, came the pen-jabbing incident. That was when the teenager realised things were getting more serious, he said.

He plucked up his courage and told the teacher what happened. He thought the bullying would stop after that, and it did - for two days.

On the third day, the classmate beckoned him to his desk. The teenager said the bully told him to "go ask (another student) what I did to him when he complained".


He didn't, and kept to himself after that. He was frightened of what the bully would do next if he did. The bully was a volleyball player.

He was much taller than the boy. "I don't know what he did to (another student), he also doesn't dare to speak up."

To avoid the bully, he started to go to school later. "Now I go to school at 7.40am. The bully will reach around 7.30am," he said.

The incident came to the parents' attention after the video clip went viral on Monday. The father was sent the clip from a friend, and recognising his son, he went down to the school to try and speak to the principal.

The principal was not there, and he spoke to a vice-principal who said the school would look into the matter and contact him afterwards.

The school did not contact the father, said the mother, but apparently it did take action, and sent both boys to its detention centre on Monday, where a counsellor spoke to the bullied teenager. According to the teen, the counsellor did not speak to the bully at that time.

The mother of the teenager has requested that the school send both boys for more counselling, and that the principal speak to the school's students about being more compassionate to one another.

We asked the boy: In all of the five months, did he think about fighting back?

He said no. Even though he has three years of Chinese martial arts training under his belt. "I shouldn't whack him. I will get into trouble myself if I retaliated," the teenager said.

This report first appeared in The Middle Ground, a news website, on Wednesday.

This article was first published on September 26, 2015.
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