real life

Is there a crueller thing to bully a child about?

Chloe Fergusson lost her mother to breast cancer when she was seven. Instead of comforting her, classmates teased the little girl for not having a mum.

Last week, Chloe, 15, committed suicide after enduring years of relentless bullying which took the form of severe verbal, physical, mental and cyber bullying.

It's as maddening as it is tragic that this has happened again. How many children have to die before schoolyard bullying becomes a crime?

Chloe was one of six siblings. Her mother died when she was just seven after a long battle with breast cancer. That's how the bullying got started. They began by teasing her for not having a mother.

The bullying continued into high school. Older sister Cassie Whitehill, 30, did her best to be a mother to her little sister. She just couldn't understand how this could be happening to someone as sweet as Chloe.

"She was getting picked on for absolutely horrible things, like not having a mother. It was awful," Cassie said. "We saw the principal and spoke to him about it. He said he would look into it, and keep an eye out. But the bullying kept happening."

Realising the situation was getting worse, Cassie organised for her to change high schools. She knew Chloe was still being bullied but thought it was much less than before, but she was wrong. It was about to get become more dangerous than ever before.

Just last Tuesday Chloe caught the bus into the city after school, like on every other weekday. Two people lay in wait as she got off the bus in Hobart city. They attacked her from behind while she cowered on the ground. Nobody intervened. It was filmed. The video was posted on Facebook that night.

Days later Chloe took her own life in her bedroom.

The video has since been removed.

How is it that the law has failed to catch up to such evil which is costing us our children's lives? Think of ANY other situation in which a child's life is in danger and it is IMMEDIATELY legislated.

Cassie is now campaigning for Chloe's Law is passed. She said she's been shocked to discover that although bullying is illegal, there are no formal anti-bullying laws in any Australian state except Victoria.

"I have made a promise to myself and Chloe that I will make these laws recognised in every Australian state and territory," she said. "It may not bring her back but it may save the life of another victim of bullying one day and her suicide will have not been in vain."

Visit the Facebook page "Chloe's Law introduce anti-bullying laws in Australia"  to lend your support. It already has almost 180,000 likes. Clearly everyone is as sick of bullying as I am.

Should bullying be a crime?