HAMILTON HILL resident Barry Lowthorpe was “absolutely mortified” to witness the verbal bullying of two local students on a recent bus ride, and says the problem has been ongoing for almost two years.
Mr Lowthorpe lives near the bus interchange on Carrington Street before Rockingham Road and had assumed the name calling he had been overhearing was just “banter between troubled kids”.
When catching the bus during the student commute rush hour last week, Mr Lowthorpe says he was shocked to discover the perpetrators were from Fremantle Christian College.
“The name calling was all one way,” he says. “They were calling these two kids losers and saying they were never going to get anywhere, and these poor kids were just sitting there soaking it in.”
He says both boys and girls were involved in the bullying, and other students on the bus just watched it happen.
Mr Lowthorpe initially thought the victims were from Port School, just opposite the bus stop, but Port school principal Barry Finch confirmed their students are escorted to the bus stops by teachers, and finish an hour before other nearby schools.
Mr Lowthorpe now says the victims were students of the nearby Kerry Street primary school.
As an openly gay man, Mr Lowthorpe was a victim of bullying in his school days and says the kids looked “absolutely helpless”.
“The reaction of the two boys was horrifying – it seemed like they were used to it.
“I felt obliged to speak to them afterwards and told them they’d be okay,” he said.
Mr Lowthorpe has been in contact with FCC and says he was told they would suspend every student found to be involved in the incident.
FCC principal couldn’t reveal if any suspensions had been made but said the school dealt with the incident under its bullying policy.
“I can assure you we dealt with the issue very quickly and very seriously,” Mr Ashton said.
The Herald was told the school board would put out an official statement about the incident.
by CHARLIE SMITH