WAG sparks violence debate after praising daughter for punching a bully in the face
By Katie Hind CONSULTANT EDITOR SHOWBUSINESS
dmg media (UK)
The Party’s Over
THE wife of a top footballer has ignited a debate over using violence to retaliate against child bullies after praising her teenage daughter for punching one in the face. Bianca Austin, married to former Southampton striker Charlie Austin, told of her pride after her 16-year-old struck the girl following weeks of being called names. Mrs Austin, 35, tweeted: ‘After numerous phone calls to the school and nothing changing, today when being called names my daughter finally punched the bully in the face. Proud mum.’ Her post, seen by 1.9 million users of the social media site, had two clapping emojis to back her daughter, who is studying for GCSEs. Mother-of-three Mrs Austin’s admission prompted much debate among her 11,000 followers, with many backing her belligerence. One wrote back: ‘Good on her, she did exactly what was needed to be done. Shame on the school though for not sorting the bullying out when you first called them.’ Another said: ‘I’m generally a pacifist but the best bit of advice I was ever given was that you don’t let bullies get away with it. ‘Ignoring it didn’t work; ignoring a fire doesn’t put it out. If you are bullied, fight. If you see someone being bullied, fight for them.’ But Mrs Austin, who is training to be a nurse, was criticised by others. One said: ‘Your daughter should not be hitting anyone, ever. I get that bullying is awful and harmful but when I said your daughter’s actions would make things worse, you can now see where I was going. Bullying someone “back” by hitting is also bullying.’ Mrs Austin replied: ‘I’d be interested to hear how you’d suggest a resolution to the bullying, Michelle. ‘School couldn’t stop it, it was wrecking her mental health and affecting her GCSE studies, what is the right course of action here?! Also she didn’t “bully” back. ‘Bullying is repeated behaviour intended to hurt someone emotionally and physically. She has no intent of malice, all she wants is to be left alone to quietly enjoy school!’ Mrs Austin, whose husband, 33, has been in the England squad but now plays for League Two Swindon, also shared details of how her daughter was allegedly punished more severely than the girl who was bullying her. She told how she called the school to find out what punishment her daughter’s rival was given. She wrote: ‘ ********* is in school exclusion at the moment while the other child is in class. I asked what sanction she [the bully] would be receiving and was told she was only verbally abusive but other students’ sanctions are not allowed to be discussed with me, so who knows.’ Mrs Austin later shared more about the bully’s punishment, while taking a swipe at the school by writing: ‘Two days in-school exclusion for my daughter, whilst the other child has gone to class because she was “only” verbally abusive. No wonder bullying is never stopped in schools... head high ********* .’ The National Bullying Helpline says if parents and carers do not think teachers are taking satisfactory action, they should contact their local authority to remind it that it has a ‘statutory duty’ to ensure all children in schools are safe at all times.