A FAMILY say they have been “completely failed” by their local authority after being forced to change their daughters’ school over a harrowing five-year campaign of bullying by another student – because social services prevented them removing the child from the class.
Daisy Showler, nine, was subjected to vile death threats, mental and physical abuse by a fellow pupil at Stobhill Primary in Gorebridge, leaving her “frightened and anxious” to attend school.
But when mum Lynsey, 38, raised concerns with local education services, she was told the school was unable to take the pupil out of the class due to the involvement of social workers in her home life.
She added the authority had warned the family they were “unable to guarantee Daisy’s safety”, with one member of staff commenting it would be “better” if they were to move her to another school.
Lynsey and husband Darren have since removed Daisy and twin sister Millie, but admits the girls are “absolutely devastated” at the prospect of leaving their friends behind.
She said: “It feels like we are being punished for the behaviour of another child.”
“Daisy was always this really bubbly, outgoing, friendly girl, but now, she is just so withdrawn. She is at the stage now where she is on high alert, constantly anxious, her adrenaline is always pumping.”
Lynsey added: “It is heartbreaking, soul destroying to see her like that, to be constantly worrying about how she is and wondering what is happening until they come home.”
The other student, who cannot be named, was reportedly banned from taking part in arts and crafts lessons with other pupils over concerns about her being near sharp objects.
Mum-of-four Lynsey said the girl repeatedly made threats to stab Daisy with a pair of scissors and frequently taunted her with “throat slitting” gestures.
She added Daisy repeatedly suffered bruised ribs, black eyes and a burst lip at the hands of the girl – who began her bullying campaign just days after the pair attended school for the first time.
Staff at the school put in place a series of temporary measures, including having extra teachers in the classroom, but none have worked and the two ended up being placed in separate rooms during lessons.
Lynsey revealed the local education board had investigated the school’s handling of the situation and found they had followed procedures correctly.
However, she said the system was “failing other students”, adding: “I have total sympathy with the other girl. I understand that her home life is difficult and it would be easy to fly off the handle, but we have tried to conduct ourselves in the most measured way possible because.”
“There is this constant changeover because they cannot be in the same class, so both hers and Daisy’s learning is being disrupted and that’s not to mention the effect it’s having on the other children in the class, there is a huge knock-on effect.”
She continued: “I believe there is a duty of care for the school, so when we drop our kids at the gates, we need them to be in a safe environment.”
“To say it is a welfare issue for the other girl, I understand it, but at a certain point, it becomes about the welfare of my own little girl, I have to know that she is going to school and she is safe.”
The family said they are now considering legal action.
A spokesman for Midlothian Council said: “The care, welfare and safety of our children is our highest priority. All of Midlothian Council schools, follow clear procedures for investigating and acting on parental complaints in relation to bullying.
“We do not comment on individual cases.”