EXCLUSIVE | Mother of girl bashed at Mossman High speaks out

HIGH SCHOOL FIGHT

Victoria Stone-Meadows

Journalist

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INFAMOUS: Mossman High School was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons earlier this month. Image: Newsport.
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The mother of the 15-year-old girl who was filmed being brutally bashed at Mossman High School earlier this month says her daughter was lost that day.

Sharnee Stewart said since the video of her daughter being attacked made national headlines, her daughter had withdrawn from life and is no longer the girl she was.

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“She’s angry and she is confused,” Ms Stewart said.

“I can’t talk to her and she just hides in her room; she doesn’t even want to be here.”

The 30-second video shows Ms Stewart’s daughter being dragged to the ground by her hair before being punched and kicked repeatedly by another girl.

The video attracted national media attention and led to the student carrying out the attack facing criminal charges.

However, Ms Stewart was unaware the attack was filmed until her son, who lives in Rockhampton, shared it with her the night of the attack.

“My son sent it to me because it was filmed on Snapchat or Instagram; I was in shock when I got it,” she said. 

“I couldn’t get it out of my head. I didn’t even know about the video when I took [my daughter] to the hospital.

“After that I went straight to the police station but it had already gone viral.”

Despite the vicious attack and Ms Stewart’s concerns for her safety, the girl returned to school the following day.

“I wasn’t going to let her but she was determined too; she didn’t want to think that she had lost but she felt like she had no control,” Ms Stewart said.

The girl was assessed at the Mossman Hospital and while she was badly bruised and scratched she did not sustain any breaks or fractures from the incident.

Ms Stewart said she had been in contact with the school a number of times since the incident but thinks the issue is bigger than Mossman High.

“The principal, Debbie Kachel, has called a few times, just to check in on us but I think bullying is more than an issue at the school, I think it’s more a police issue,” she said.

“The police haven’t stopped it; they just give cautions and the kids think they have gotten away with it and they keep doing it.”


However, Queensland Police Senior Constable Cassandra Hill said police do everything they can when dealing with young offenders.

“The thing about dealing with kids is if the kids are not remorseful for their actions, we send them to court and that is what we have done in this instance,” she said.

“We have an option under the youth justice act to issue cautions but not every kid gets cautioned because they think they are entitled to it; if they are not remorseful we will send them to court then it’s up to the magistrate to decide on a punishment.”

Senior Constable Hill said the local police work closely with Mossman High School to help curb anti-social behaviour both on and off school grounds.

Local police and other emergency services also run programs and information sessions in conjunction with the Mossman Youth Centre and the Elders Justice Group.

“We attend the school numerous times a year do talks around bullying and other topics relating to youth offending,” she said.

“A lot of this kind of behaviour starts in the home as well and there has to be a tiered approach involving police, school, and home.” 

 

 

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