After picking up her non-verbal special needs daughter from school, a mother was horrified by the bite marks, scratches, and bruises a bully had caused. Desperate for help, the mother made a heartwrenching plea for action in a candid video.
When Kerri Arnold was called to her 12-year-old daughter’s school in Hamilton, New Zealand, she was told that her little girl had an incident with a male classmate, according to the Daily Mail. What the concerned mother would soon discover was that her special needs child was brutally attacked.
Bullying has many parents fighting for a solution. While schools claim to be taking the problem seriously and routinely implementing new policies, victims of bullying continue to dread going to class each morning for fear of having an unpleasant encounter with their tormentors.
Arnold was shocked when she saw her daughter, Aalyha, with wounds on her face and arm, along with scratches down the child’s back. The generally happy little girl suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Angelman syndrome leaving her unable to speak. As such, she was particularly vulnerable to the boy’s abuse.
“Today at approximately 1:30pm I was phoned by the school – she has been a victim of bullying,” Arnold said. “This young boy has scratched her eye, bit the side of her face, scratched her arm and she’s got scratches on her back.”
Feeling unable to help her little girl, Arnold pulled out her cell phone and began documenting her daughter’s injuries. She explained Aalyha’s disorder, which affects not only her daily abilities but her personality as well.
“Aalyha is non-verbal. She is always happy and it pains me to see my little girl so upset. This is a rear syndrome that affects all areas of her life and ability to defend herself at all,” the mother said.
Arnold explained that the boy who caused her daughter’s injuries has been reprimanded by school officials. However, she fears that it isn’t enough. She says that Aalyha is “traumatized” from the experience and such behavior has to stop.
“I have spoken to the principal and the boy will be stood down for the rest of the week following this horrible event,” she said. “One of the long term teachers expressed to me her disgust and apologized for the student’s behaviour and advised me that she has requested the boy be stood down.”
Arnold uploaded the video on social media, hoping that the exposure would spark some sort of resolution. She revealed that Aalyha faced a similar bullying situation 2 years earlier in which she was knocked down, bitten, and pushed into a glass window, breaking her front tooth and fracturing her nose.
Arnold then revealed the reason she has opened up her child’s abuse to the world. She told the media that she hopes the video will spark an anti-bullying movement similar to the numerous campaigns for preserving the environment and practicing safety.
“I am wanting to create a campaign or programme to educating our young children in regards to anti-bullying,” she told NZME. “I am my daughter’s voice, and I will scream to be heard if need be. Bullying is not okay.”
Arnold believes that the solution to stopping bullying begins in the home. She hopes that parents will use her daughter’s situation as a teaching moment for their own children to learn that bullying is detrimental.
Aalyha requires round-the-clock care, including being fed through a tube inserted into her stomach. However, despite her disability, Arnold says that her daughter has an undefeatable and infectious joy about her.
Arnold hopes that people will share her daughter’s story in the hopes that it not only helps to fight bullying but also eases the pain and suffering of other victims around the world.