Bullying hits new heights

10th March 2000 at 00:00
TEACHERS failed to see the joke in a ghastly ad for fizzy orange drink Tango. The ad features a gang of aggressive, ginger men and pupils started imitating the characters' bullying ways. Britvic, the makers, were told by the Independent Television Commission to take the ad off air.

In fact, it's been a prominent week for bullies: short girls are three times as likely to victimise others, while smaller boys are less inclined to do so, research revealed. Linda Voss, author of the report in the British Medical Journal, said she was surprised by the findings. But vertically challenged members of both sexes got bullied more than children of normal height.

A new website set up by two youngsters who were bullied at school is attracting 100 "hits" an hour. The calls came in after Oliver Watts, 15, and 16-year-old Kate Riddle of Colchester, Essex, offered to help others on the Kilroy TV show. Even the Poet Laureate Andrew Motion donated some lies on the topic to ChildLine, to mark the milestone of the charity having helped one million children. Esther Rantzen, the charity's chair, said: "The fact that he has chosen to write so movingly about bullying, a problem which tops the list of what children call us about, will greatly help us."

Bad behaviour elsewhere included two boys who allegedly attempted to blackmail their school in Ipswich. One 15-year-old sent an anonymous letter threatening to tell environmental health officers and the media about kitchen cockroaches if he were not paid pound;199.

A more traditional kind of sting threatened a proposed new school in Devon, as it faced a

million bees in a nearby honey farm. The owner had feared that a child could be stung and die from an allergic reaction. But simple remedies from the British Bee Keepers' Federation, including protective hedges, should keep the bees out - shame they won't do the same for the bullies.

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