How far would you go to protect your child against bullies? One father took matters into his own hands, choking a teenage boy who had allegedly bullied his step-daughter.
The violent act is hard to watch. But is it justified? Many parents believe so.
As the toll of teenagers committing suicide due to bullying continues to rise, many parents are at a complete loss as to what to do. Bullying isn’t just something that occurs at school any more. It follows the kids home, often through social media and online outlets.
If you happened to watch 60 Minutes on Sunday night, then you probably already know about Brisbane dad Mark Bladen’s violent confrontation with his step-daughter’s alleged bully. We will warn you, the footage (below) is quite unsettling. But it also shows the ugly truth behind bullying and how powerless it can make parents feel.
Dad chokes bully: ‘The next thing I knew, my hands were around his neck’
Like many parents, Mark Blade, 53, couldn’t stand by and witness his daughter, Kalani being bullied any longer. After months of allegedly being called names like “gorilla,” being spat on and pushed at school, Mark made the decision to reach out and put an end to his daughter’s torment.
However, the plan didn’t go quite as expected. Mark confronted the alleged bully and a group of his mates at a skate park.
“I just went over there to give him a good old fashioned talking to,” Mark told 60 Minutes. “I wanted to belittle him in front of his friends, the same way he always did with Kalani.”
However, the teen allegedly shrugged the conversation off, smirking at Mark rather than taking any of his concerns seriously.
Mark says he saw red and lashed out. A video shows him reaching for the teen, grabbing his neck, pushing him over and becoming physical.
“The meter had gone past. That’s when I snapped. The next thing I knew my hands were around his neck.”
Dad fined $1000 for attacking daughter’s alleged bully
Someone at the skate park filmed the event and posted it on YouTube. One week after the incident, which took place in March, Mark was arrested for assault causing bodily harm.
Mark received a $1000 fine in the Brisbane Magistrates’ Court but he has also received a flurry of support from other parents who understand why he did what he did.
Other parents have responded to Mark’s incident with sympathy and understanding, with many turning to Facebook to voice their opinions on the bullying crisis.
Stand up to bullying
Since the attack, Kalani is no longer being bullied. But every day other children experience a similar torment. And every day parents like Mark feel that sense of frustration, anger and hopelessness that they are failing their children.
According to the Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence study, one in four students aged between eight and 14 are regularly bullied. Every month we hear the news of another life lost due to bullying, including 13-year-old Libby Bell and 14-year-old Dolly Everett.
For every child who successfully commits suicide, dozens of others try to, just like bully victim Brian Birchell, 12.
Watching your child crumble in the hands of a bully is absolutely heartbreaking. Many parents are at a loss as to what to do. And many parents, if put in a similar situation, would probably react in the same way Mark did.
Yes, what he did was wrong. But when someone is hurting your child, it’s hard to sit back and do nothing.
What would you do?
If you or anyone you know needs help:
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
- Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
- Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
- Headspace on 1800 650 890