UPDATE: 5 June 2012 Dylan Raven has been nominated for the Child of Courage Medal in this year’s Pride of Australia Awards. He now has over 1500 followers on Twitter.
16-year-old Dylan Raven is working his way towards becoming a Twitter superstar. Not for personal fame and glory, like you might expect from a more typical Gen Z kid, but to draw attention to the issue of bullying.
Dylan has been bullied for more than four years. After an enjoyable and uneventful time at his primary school near the NSW/South Australia border, Dylan became the target of high school bullies from the start of year 7.
“It started with name calling and throwing pencil sharpeners, erasers, anything they could get their hands on,” says Dylan. “Then when I started year 8 it turned into physical violence.”
Dylan reports that one student grabbed him and rammed his head into a brick wall, resulting in bruises to his face, and another tied a cable around his throat and tightened it during class. The teacher had not witnessed this incident but Dylan showed him the cable, now in pieces because it had to be cut off when he had trouble breathing. Dylan says the teacher, who was a casual, did not believe his story. The 13-year-old left the room and went next door to his twin sister’s classroom – where he says her teacher told him to go away. He then went to the Principal’s office, who recorded Dylan’s complaint and said he would follow it up, but Dylan says he did not.
“One student grabbed Dylan and rammed his head into a brick wall, and another tied a cable around his throat and tightened it”
After a year and a half of torment, Dylan was suffering anxiety attacks, was scared to go to school and had contemplated suicide. His psychologist recommended he not return until he was feeling better. Dylan completed just two terms out of four in year 8. He was still planning on returning to the same school in year 9, when he found that one of the bullies had thrown another student into a wall. “I thought, I’m not going back there,” says Dylan. “I don’t want that happening to me.”
Dylan and his twin sister Shelby moved to the other local high school together, at the start of year 9. Shelby has never been bullied, and she always stuck up for Dylan. He says the bullies never did anything when she was around.
Dylan and Shelby both settled well into their new school. Dylan says he still gets bullied but he doesn’t feel the same physical threat.
“If I’m walking down stairs people will try to trip my legs and make me fall down the stairs, or if I’m walking with my folder they’ll try to pull it out of my arms and send my papers flying everywhere. But I feel a lot safer at my new school.”
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