Queensland parents and school students are being offered the chance to voice their own ideas on ways to curb cyberbullying after the death of Northern Territory teenager Dolly Everett.
Dolly was 14 when she took her life on January 3, having endured years of bullying at her Queensland private school, her parents Tick and Kate Everett told Nine Network’s A Current Affair on Tuesday.
They want Australian schools to adopt a national ‘blue heart’ rating system on bullying and cybersafety.
Their new foundation, Dolly’s Dream, will pursue a national approach to bullying and cybersafety in schools.
The grieving parents hope each school will one day have a blue heart rating – featuring the foundation’s logo of a blue heart, with a butterfly at its centre – reflecting the strength of prevention and response strategies.
The Everetts are in the final stages of setting up Dolly’s Dream as an official charity, four months after their daughter took her life on the family’s remote NT property.
They’ve now revealed what they say were terrible failings by her boarding school – Scots PGC College in the Queensland town of Warwick.
Mrs Everett said her daughter was bullied from her first term and from the age of 12 to 14 she suffered physical, mental and online abuse by other students.
Throughout it all, her parents say they kept up a constant dialogue with the school, but Dolly was branded a liar, considered a troublemaker, and even suspended when she “decked” one of her tormentors – a boy who repeatedly pushed her over.
Last November Dolly wrote a heartbreaking email to her mum about how she was confronted by a bunch of students, one of whom told her she should kill herself.
A few months later, her parents found her body half-an-hour after she had gone to bed.
Mrs Everett said Dolly’s school didn’t appear to have any processes to deal with what was happening to her daughter and school children shouldn’t be at the mercy of disparate standards.
Scots PGC principal Kyle Thompson said the college was providing ongoing support to students after Dolly’s death.
But he said an ongoing Northern Territory police investigation meant he could not comment further.
“We take our responsibility for the well-being of our community extremely seriously and their welfare and privacy remains our priority,” he said in a statement.
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 (for young people aged 5 to 25).