Ben Vodden
Someone Being Bullied
Male | Horsham, England   United Kingdom
Even driver bullied our son on the school bus
Bullying Type: Physical / Emotional
Posted By: Cantrell27
5/20/13 7:34 AM
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WHEN 11-year-old Ben Vodden told his mum he was being bullied by school kids on the bus, she suggested he sat next to the driver.
When the driver himself joined in the taunts, calling the lad “Billy No Mates”, it was perhaps the final straw.
Following months of torment, Ben — called Giggles or Gigs because he was so bright, effervescent and funny — hanged himself in his bedroom.
Yet another victim of the scourge of bullying, which politicians seem unwilling to deal with.
Intimidation and mental torture are bad enough in schools and online, where protection policies are hit and miss.
But school buses are even less well policed and are prime territory for bullies.
It is another reason why we have teamed up with the BeatBullying charity to demand the introduction of Ayden’s Law, in memory of Shy’s 14-year-old son Ayden Olson who killed himself this year after being bullied.
Ben’s dad Paul told us: “It kicked off when he went from junior to secondary school. It started with items of clothing being taken from him on the bus and degenerated into horrible name-calling.
“It might have been OK if it had just been the boys involved, but the bus driver decided to join in as well.
“His attitude was that he was just taking part in a bit of boys’ fun.
“If that is the case, he should have known or been given the skills to know it was not just high-jinks. Or there should have been another adult on the bus who was able to take some action.”
Other witnesses told Ben’s December 2006 inquest, which recorded an open verdict, that they regularly saw him being kicked, punched and whipped with shoelaces at the bus stop near Horsham, West Sussex.
Coppice worker Paul, 63, from Bournemouth, said: “There is no doubt bullying is a significant problem on school buses.
“But you usually only have one adult in charge. I can’t think of any other situation where we expect someone to look after so many kids without any training.”
A BeatBullying survey of young people revealed 42 per cent said they had been bullied on a bus or at a bus stop and 61 per cent had seen it going on. More than a third of them say they have been afraid to get the bus because of bullies.
Paul added: “We need teachers trained to recognise bullying and given techniques to deal with it — and school bus drivers too.”
Thousands have already signed our anti-bullying petition online, or returned a coupon, calling for bullying to be made illegal. Please join them — see the panel below for details.
Your donations can help raise awareness. Go to

Thugs 'rule'
A BUS driver who has seen clashes between kids on his vehicle says drivers are being bullied by unruly yobs too.
John, 59, from south London, said: “You see kids get on the bus in groups and then if the odd kid gets on, not with anyone else, you can see them getting picked on.
“I can sometimes keep an eye on them but there is very little I can do because I am driving.
“All I can do is pull over and stop the engine and make it clear we are not going on until they behave. But we have absolutely no training to deal with unruly kids.
“They swear and they shout abuse at you and they know there is nothing you can do.”
He said some schools used teachers to help get youngsters on to buses.
He said: “While the teachers were there the kids were well behaved, but as soon as we were under way it all kicked off.
“We have had a police community support officer ride on the bus and that helped, but it is pretty irregular and more often they are only at the terminal.”

Wiser ways
BULLYING on buses can be tackled.
East Riding Of Yorkshire Council have teamed up with schools and bus operators to run a phone hotline to allow drivers, passengers, pupils, parents and members of the public to report any incidents of concern.
Since its launch in September 2008, Buswise has evolved to include educational sessions and driver training.
The council’s antisocial behaviour team work with the bullies and their parents to try to address their behaviour.
Nigel Rowe, the council’s group manager for transportation services, said: “We probably get more stuff reported than we did at the start but that is because more people understand how to report concerns and know something will be done about them.
“We are not perfect but the perception from everybody is that bus travel is better than it was two years ago.
“It takes a lot of time and effort, and working closely with other agencies, but it can be very worthwhile.”

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Posted By: GatsbyTom90 | 5/20/13 12:18 PM
I'll sign that anti-bullying petition. With the community's support they should be able to get things accomplished.
Story Details

Name: Ben Vodden
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Country: United Kingdom
Location: Horsham, England
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