Brave Bearsden charity worker Nicola Young has backed a campaign to tackle bullying after experiencing it herself while at school.
Nicola is hoping that in telling her story, and also helping to clear offensive grafitti from walls, it can help those who have a disability and have suffered at the hands of bullys.
The 27-year-old, who works for ENABLE, said she encountered bullying by pupils when she was at Bearsden Academy more than 10 years ago, and has decided to speak out to highlight the issue.
She said: “I had to listen to the jibes and name-calling directed at me simply because I had a learning disability.”
One cruel incident in particular shattered her confidence and will remain with her all her life.
She said: “I remember it like it was yesterday. I was in 4th year, going into 5th and was walking from one part of the school to the other. There was a group of five older boys behind me. They pushed me hard and I fell into a large pothole. I hit the ground with force, splitting open my face from my lip to my nose.
“The guys who did it thought it was funny. They made fun of my mum and dad because they are both deaf. They called me every single name you can imagine.”
A girl who witnessed the incident alerted the school’s reception, and Nicola’s head teacher, guidance and supported learning teachers came to her aid.
She added, “There was blood all over my face. I was shaking and crying and saying over and over ‘I want my mum.’ My dad arrived and took me home and I eventually fell asleep on the couch. By the time my mum came home from work, the bleeding still wouldn’t stop, so they took me to hospital. They thought I was concussed because I kept repeating myself. My mum phoned the school and asked if the police had been called. Rather than make me go back to school to speak to the police, they came to my house. It had all been captured on CCTV, and the boys were later expelled from school.”
Nicola is now urging people to get behind Enable Scotland’s Bethechange campaign, which aims to confront the problem head-on with a hard-hitting poster campaign to re-inforce the message and to educate the Bullys.