How Sheffield teenager Rebecca beat the bullies

Rebecca Parkin 16, from Sheffield, who was bullied for more than ten years because she has Asperger's syndrome
Rebecca Parkin 16, from Sheffield, who was bullied for more than ten years because she has Asperger's syndrome

A Sheffield teenager has described how she suffered 10 years of bullying in city schools - which had a serious impact on her education.

Sixteen-year-old Rebecca Parkin’s case has been highlighted in a new nationwide study which found bullying has a significant impact on academic performance.

It can lead pupils to achieve lower grades at GCSE, according to new research in the Annual Bullying Survey.

The report highlights a direct correlation between bullying and the negative impact on education. It provides an in-depth insight into the current climate of bullying within the UK, pointing out areas of concern, those most at risk and the long-term impact bullying is having on the lives of millions of young people.

More than 30 schools and colleges were involved in the study and it was based on the answers of 3,600 people aged 13 to 18.

Rebecca was bullied for more than 10 years because she had Asperger’s syndrome, a form of high functioning autism. She became so terrified of the physical attacks she suffered at school - which included older pupils trying to set her hair on fire when she was 11 - that she stayed off school and her education suffered.

Rebecca said: “I got called awful names - fat, ugly, worthless, stupid, weird, psycho.

“I had food thrown at me while walking around school - I had a whole bottle of water thrown on me.

“I had acids and chemicals thrown at me in science, I had people calling me and texting me and saying nasty things to me. I had to change my number because of it.”

Rebecca said she also received threats through social media websites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

“A girl posted a Facebook status once and put that she was going to ‘get me’ and that people would ‘see the blood’ because I was trying to make friends with her new best friend,” she said.

Miss Parkin also said she was accused of stealing a knife from an art lesson in order to stab one of the bullies, but it was later discovered no knife had been removed from the classroom.

The teenager said she eventually moved schools because of the emotional problems she developed as a result of being bullied.

She added: “I’ve been a victim of bullying for over 10 years. As a 16-year-old, I now feel more confident to stand up and not be ashamed to say I may have been a victim of bullying, but I got through it and will continue to strive through the challenges I’ve experienced during my life.”