When Jamal* left war-torn Syria for Britain, he thought that life would be better for him and his family.
Instead, the teenager and his sister have been victims of violent bullying at a high school in northern England, which has left him “crying at night”. His sister has gone so far as to break the lenses of her glasses and attempt suicide to escape the constant attacks.
A video has now gone viral of an incident in which Jamal is pushed to the ground and held by the throat. This is the latest in a series of attacks spanning his two years in England, reports ITV.
You may have already seen it spreading on social media. but in case you haven’t, here’s the video:
The teenager came to the UK with his family through a United Nations programme. Having escaped a war zone, he had the following to say about his time in the UK:
“I was feeling unsafe everywhere – even to go to the shop.”
“I was feeling like I couldn’t study or do my homework.
“I woke up at night and just started crying because of this problem.
“When I saw everyone looking at this video I felt ashamed of myself and why it happened. I was really upset about that.”
The incident, which happened at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield on October 25, has been viewed millions of times online, and has provoked outrage and prompted a crowdfunding page.
The 15-year-old said he was “upset” by his school’s response to the ongoing bullying, claiming the school suggested he moved school to stop it from happening.
“When I came to the UK I felt I was going to be safe, and none of that happened. Everyone started talking about the law – that everyone is under the law,” he said.
“I was following the law, trying to be safe, and none of that happened. I was trying to call our council to help us, but they didn’t. I was trying to tell the police, they didn’t listen to me either.”
Sky News reports that the 16-year-old boy bullying Jamal in the video has been charged with assault and will appear in court in due course. A previous incident in which Jamal’s wrist was injured (he’s still wearing a cast in the video) was investigated, but police decided to hand the case over to the school.
If the video is anything to go on, the school clearly failed to keep the kid safe. Let’s hope the police do a better job this time.
*Jamal’s real name cannot be used for legal reasons.
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