United Kingdom

Student sues one of Australia's most elite private schools for $2million over bullying

One of Queensland’s most elite private schools is being hit with a multi-million dollar lawsuit over claims it ignored horrific abuse by schoolyard bullies.

Now 20 years-old, a former student claimed he suffered repeated attacks at Brisbane Grammar School between 2013 and 2015 while on a soccer scholarship.

This includes being brutally punched by a gang of students and even choked with a computer cord at the $27,540-a-year school. 

The man’s $2 million dollar lawsuit claims the physical assaults have left him with traumatic brain injury, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and body dysmorphic issues - leaving him unable to get a job.

Brisbane Grammar School (pictured) is being hit with a multi-million-dollar lawsuit over claims it ignored horrific abuse by schoolyard bullies

He made the case in the Supreme Court in June.  

Accusations lodged in the court filings outline how the former student was allegedly punched, kicked and put in headlocks by other students, The Courier Mail reported.

On other occasions, he claimed to have had his legs whipped with electric cords and was even choked with a computer cord for 30 seconds by a group of boys who are named in the claim.

Among the school's former students are high-profile figures such as rugby player Stephen Moore, author David Malouf, Powderfinger bassist John Collins and former state governor Sir John Lavarack.

But as well as physical abuse, the man also claimed to face heartbreaking emotional humiliation.

The claim states that students once played a prank on him by concocting a fake written scholarship to another school and would throw his hat off the science block in front of other students.

The man’s $2 million dollar lawsuit claims the physical assaults have left him with traumatic brain injury, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and body dysmorphic issues 

After telling his parents of the assaults in February 2015, his father informed the school but the bullied continued unabated for months, the claim states.

As a result, the man’s Solicitor Mark O’Connor from the firm Bennett and Philp alleges the prestigious school breached consumer laws by failing to provide a safe environment.

‘He has problems which we think are likely going to hold him back,’ Mr O’Connor said.

‘He may be commercially unemployable.’

Many of the incidents are alleged to have happened in areas such as the school oval, on stairways and between buildings, where there was no supervision provided to prevent bullying.

The lawsuit also claimed the school had a duty to investigate when the student was absent for class on 110 occasions in 2015 and 160 times in 2014, as his grades deteriorated from Bs to Ds between Year 8 and 10.

Although Mr O’Connor admits bullying claims are typically very difficult cases to win, there are similar examples which have been successful in Australia courts.

Sydney school girl Jazmine Oyston received more than $500,000 in damages in 2013 for bullying which took place between Year 7 and 9 at St Patrick’s College for Girls in Campbelltown.

‘(The school is) aware of this claim which is before the court and as a result we are refraining from any comment save to say the claim will be fully defended,' Brisbane Grammar School acting headmaster David Carroll told the Sunday Mail in a statement.

A hearing date is yet to be set.

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