Donations have flooded in for a boy whose finger had to be amputated after he allegedly fled an attack by school bullies. Shantal Bailey has raised almost £40,000 for treatment for her 11-year-old son Raheem after a campaign of racial abuse resulted in serious injury, she said.
Ms Bailey said Raheem has experienced racist and physical attacks since starting at Abertillery Learning Community in September last year. She claimed he was beaten by bullies on Tuesday and as he tried to run away he severely injured his right hand on railings, as WalesOnline reported here.
The Welsh Government issued a statement in the wake of the incident, saying: “We condemn bullying and racial harassment in any form and expect allegations and incidents of bullying and racism to be fully investigated by schools with appropriate action taken to address the matter and prevent further instances from happening.”
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Ms Bailey has raised £37,585 in a single day after setting up a Gofundme page with a £10,000 target for a personalised prosthetic finger and any other costs towards Raheem’s recovery. She said she had not realised the severity of the alleged bullying until she received a call from Raheem while he was at school.
“On Monday, Raheem called me in tears whilst I was at work, saying that he’s being bullied but that he was the one who was threatened with detention despite him being the one that’s getting picked on,” she added. The mum-of-four said she went to the school and was “reassured that everything would be handled”. But on Tuesday, she got another call from Raheem who was “screaming in pain”.
She claimed: “On Tuesday morning break time, Raheem was attacked and beaten by a group of children whilst in school. He was pushed to the ground and then repeatedly kicked. He made a desperate attempt to leave the school grounds in order to escape the situation but caught his finger. I received a phone call from Raheem and then the school informing me of the incident.
“The school told me that the ambulance wouldn’t arrive for two hours, but advised me not to drive Raheem to A&E myself. Raheem, his baby brother and I were taken to a minor injuries unit by the school bus, despite them knowing that his injury was severe. We spent the next five hours waiting for an ambulance to transfer us to the location where he would undergo surgery, in Swansea, 50 miles away from his home and school. As time rolled on, it became more apparent that the possibility my son was going to lose his finger was a real one. The doctors then confirmed this was likely. I had to explain this to him while he sat there in agony.”
Raheem went through six hours of surgery in an attempt to save his finger, but it was not successful. Shantal said on Friday that he was back home and in a lot of pain.
“I think he is still suffering from shock because he keeps asking why it has happened to him and asking why people don’t like him,” she added. “We have still not seen his hand because it is all bandaged up, but it is going to take some time for him to get used to it. I am extremely upset because from the day of the incident until now, the school has not reached out to me to check on his well-being.”
A spokeswoman for Abertillery Learning Community said: “We are currently working closely with Gwent Police and the Local Authority to establish the full details of the incident. The well-being and safety of our pupils and staff remains of paramount importance. We will not be commenting further at this time.”
And a Gwent Police spokesperson said: “We received a report of an incident at a school in Abertillery around 1pm on Wednesday, where an 11-year-old boy was injured. A multi-agency meeting has taken place and we’re working with the school as part of our ongoing enquires.”
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