London - She should have been celebrating her tenth birthday.
Instead, Lilly-Jo Caldcott spent the day lying distraught in a hospital bed after taking an overdose following months of playground bullying.
The schoolgirl’s mother, Jess Brown, yesterday described how her daughter attempted suicide after repeatedly being taunted over her weight as well as being physically attacked.
Lilly-Jo was taken to hospital on Monday afternoon – the day before her birthday – after Miss Brown noticed tablets had gone missing.
The devastated mother posted pictures of her daughter in hospital on Facebook to warn other parents about the dangers of bullying.
Lilly-Jo took the overdose during Anti-Bullying Week 2018, a campaign run by the Anti-Bullying Alliance that aims to help children, parents, school staff and others who work with children to tackle bullying by helping youngsters understand the concept of respect and that bullying is a behaviour choice.
Miss Brown, 27, a stay-at-home mother, accused Witton Middle School in Droitwich, Worcestershire, of failing to support her daughter properly.
‘You never expect see your own daughter on her tenth birthday in hospital after a suicide attempt,’ she said. ‘It’s heart-breaking. I am disgusted she is being bullied yet nothing is being done about it.’
She continued: ‘I knew Lilly wasn’t right on Monday because she wasn’t eating and seemed really withdrawn after school. I sat her down and she admitted she’d taken some pills. I took her to the GP and he said we should go straight to hospital. I thought my daughter was going to die.’
Miss Brown said Lilly-Jo had been eating less as a result of her ongoing ordeal, and seemed ‘a lot more tired than she used to’, prompting numerous visits to the doctor. She had faced a battle to get her to school each morning. Miss Brown, from Droitwich, a single mother who has two other children, Demi-Leigh, six, and Callie-Ann, eight, said Lilly-Jo had been targeted by one girl.
‘She (the bully) has pulled her hair, pushed her, smacked Lilly-Jo and also shut a locker door on Lilly-Jo’s head,’ she said.
‘The day after Lilly overdosed I went round to the parents of this girl and showed them the pictures of her in hospital. They just laughed at me and swore at me.
‘I feel that Lilly has been let down by the school who have not taken bullying seriously.’
Earlier this year, Miss Brown posted a video of her daughter explaining her ordeal. In the eight-minute clip, Lilly-Jo said: ‘There is this kid at school who is bullying me since I have been at Witton.
‘It has been getting worse and worse. She pulled my hair in PE and stamped on my foot, I was crying and she went off laughing. Then she was staring at me in the changing rooms and calling me fat.
‘She has sent text messages to my friend and now they are not speaking to me – they have a picture of me falling off a bench. She said that if I don’t move school she will carry on bullying me until I get angry. I don’t want to kill myself.’
Lilly-Jo is now in a stable condition in Worcestershire Royal Hospital and is being given counselling. Miss Brown hopes she will be discharged this week. She will look for another school for Lilly-Jo because she is ‘terrified’ to go back to Witton Middle School.
Headteacher Cath Crossley denied the school had failed to take appropriate measures.
‘We were made aware of these bullying allegations and took immediate action,’ she said. ‘Face-to-face meetings were organised with the families involved and the families have also been working with our support worker.
‘This school takes all allegations of bullying extremely seriously [and] maintains a strict anti-bullying policy. We are fully supporting Anti-Bullying Week 2018. We are holding a special Kindness Week. Pupils will also be undertaking some classroom learning on the theme of anti-bullying.’Daily Mail