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Teen regrets bullying

Maria Bradshaw

Teen regrets bullying

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ONE?of the schoolboys videotaped bullying another boy has issued a public apology for his actions.
The 15-year-old, referred to in this story in protection of his identity as “John”, wrote a letter to the WEEKEND?NATION yesterday expressing remorse for his actions and saying that he wanted to put the incident behind him.
He said the videotape of him and others threatening one of their colleagues with a whip and forcing the victim to clean his (“John’s”) shoes had started out as a “joke and sport which turned sour”.
The shocking video was widely circulated on the social Website Facebook earlier this month and led to an outpouring of criticism and repeated calls for bullying to be stamped out at the schools.
“John” said he sincerely apologised to the victim, his parents and family, the board of management and principal of his school and his mother.
“I would like to apologise for all the pain, suffering and disgrace I?have caused them in the bullying situation which took place earlier this year. I told the fellas after —- started to cry to stop and leave him but they went on.
“What started out as a joke and sport for us turned sour. I?am deeply sorry once again. I?am on suspension from school. I want to put this behind me, use this experience to learn a lesson, choose my friends more carefully in the future and move on with my education.”
When a WEEKEND?NATION team met “John” and his mother yesterday, the repentant teenager said he knew how his victim felt because he was also bullied at school.
“I used to get beat up at the school and there was a time that I?did not even want to go to school because of what was happening to me. I?feel real bad. I was in his shoes so I?know how he feels but at the time I was not thinking,” he stated, sitting in the living room at an aunt’s house with his mother nearby.
While the school board is still to decide what disciplinary action it would impose, “John” said he had apologised to the board at a meeting held at the rural school last Wednesday. He felt he needed an opportunity to continue pursuing his dreams of becoming a lawyer or an architect.
His 57-year-old mother, who described the experience as “traumatic”, said she was proud that her son had made the brave decision to issue a public apology.
“He has shown remorse and he knows that what he did was wrong. He is receiving counselling with my church members and he knows that he has to accept the responsibility for his actions, dust off and move on. He was telling me that his life was over but I told him ‘no’ to use this as an experience to become a better person.”