THE FATHER of a schoolboy who hanged himself after being bullied relentlessly on the school bus has called for urgent support for young victims.
Paul Vodden’s 11-year-old son Ben endured name calling, gesturing and swearing on school bus journeys, even from the driver.
The merciless bullying became too much for Ben – a pupil at Tanbridge House School in Horsham, West Sussex – and he hanged himself in his bedroom in December 2006.
Since then, Mr Vodden has attempted to tackle the issues surrounding bullying on school bus journeys and has been on a crusade to help others affected by bullies.
He has now produced a report with funding from the anti-bullying charity the Diana Award which highlighted that bullying often started on the school bus.
The findings of the Vodden Report, which revealed that 30 per cent of respondents said bullying began on school bus journeys, and that 15 per cent said the driver was aware it was happening, will be launched today at the Busk Transport Safety Conference in Windmill Hill, in Swindon.
Mr Vodden said: “Children are placed on a school bus in a group, the composition of which they have no choice. There is no formal supervision and virtually no opportunity of avoiding conflict.
“Bullying can quickly escalate and there is a lack of support for victims.
“This needs to be urgently addressed.”