At first, Carrie Golledge thought her daughter had a serious stomach illness. Then she noticed Sophia got better when she was away from school.
As the Mirror reports, the mom from Devon, England had been watching her daughter come home from school crying every day and getting sick with anxiety at the prospect of returning. Six-year-old Sophia was regularly experiencing terrible stomach pain and vomiting. Carrie told the Mirror:
“She’d be in so much pain and because her upset stomach was so violent, it would lead to a water infection and her body struggled. We’ve had her in hospital with high fevers which they’ve struggled to control.”
What’s more, Sophia didn’t seem to be growing as she should. While her daughter was always on the small side, she wasn’t putting on weight. Carrie said:
“At one stage we were in and out of hospital where they’ve been checking if it’s IBS, or Crohn’s disease or colitis — she’s had blood tests and ultrasounds and scans.”
The mom soon noticed her daughter would recover whenever she was off of school. That’s when she began to realize that Sophia’s health problems weren’t from a disease — they were the result of a sustained bullying campaign.
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Carrie learned her daughter’s “best friend” had been controlling what Sophia could and couldn’t eat. If Sophia didn’t like the approved food, she went hungry. What’s more, the bully isolated Sophia from other children, leaving her with no one to play with.
Efforts to address the problem with the teachers were unsuccessful. Carrie told the Mirror:
“When Sophia went to her teacher, she was told off for telling tales. Even though she’s crying herself to sleep and rocking herself to sleep because she’s in so much pain from anxiety.”
When Sophia’s parents brought it up, the school dismissed the bullying as kids being kids. They suggested keeping Sophia inside during playtime, but Carrie felt this was another form of punishment for a girl who had been through enough.
The school promised to address the problem before Sophia returned to school in September, but Carrie told the Mirror it was clear that the bullying was still going on because, “within 24 hours of her returning to school, [Sophia] was back home again crying and vomiting and shaking. She was up all night with an upset stomach.”
Frustrated and upset, Carrie shared a photo of her daughter on Facebook, writing that, “this is my 6-year-old daughter, hospitalized due to bullying”:
This is my child who has stopped eating, has cried herself to sleep, had anxiety so severe she’s up sick over 20 times in an hour through the night…
This is my child whose ‘best friend’ has emotionally abused her for so long she thought it was normal…
This is my child who has been in and out of hospital for countless trips due to being so sick with anxiety…
Finally, Sophia’s parents decided to remove their children from the school. Carrie told the Mirror they saw the change in their daughter right away: “The minute she was removed from the school, her health picked up, she’s put weight back on and she’s had a growth spurt.”
Carrie says that for the first time, Sophia is coming home to talk about her day at school instead of spending the evening crying.
The mom shared Sophia’s story because she doesn’t want to see the same thing happen to anyone else. Since putting her daughter’s photo on Facebook, Carrie says that she’s been contacted by many parents with similarly heartbreaking stories.
The mom told the Mirror that they have yet to get an apology from the school for failing Sophia and that there are, “too many people letting children down.” As she wrote on Facebook:
“This is my child who doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else. So this is my child’s story we are sharing but she is one of many … too many! “