Next week is Anti-Bullying Week, with this year’s message being ‘Choose Respect’. We spoke to one very special lad who is standing up to bullying in his own way. Meet viral sensation Oscar Clitheroe…
According to a study by the National Children’s Bureau, 40% of children polled said that they would hide aspects of themselves for fear of being bullied for it. Furthermore, 61% of those children would hide, or change the way they look to avoid being bullied, with a whopping 64% stating that they have seen someone being bullied for being ‘different’.
With these worrying statistics in mind and with Anti-Bullying Week taking place this week, we spoke to local mum Donna Clitheroe whose son has been spreading the message that it is “alright to be different”.
A boy on a mission who is proud to be different and wants to help other children feel confident enough to tell their truth. His words, not ours. Oscar recently took the internet by storm with a video that he created ahead of starting secondary school which explained why he looks different to other children and why uniqueness such as his, should be celebrated, not shunned.
Oscar has Ring 5 Chromosome which means he has to inject growth hormone into his leg daily to aid his growth.
His mum Donna explains, “Since Oscar was very small, people have always asked questions about his size and children in particular are very inquisitive. Oscar has always been happy to tell people the truth about his condition and wanted a way to tell everyone at his new school about himself.”
Oscar’s initial idea was to stand up in front of the whole school in an assembly and explain about his condition, but his auntie Hettie thought that a video would be more engaging and give Oscar the opportunity to share his story with a wider audience.
Oscar has always been happy to tell people the truth about his condition and wanted a way to tell everyone at his new school about himself
Mum Donna, who works in television, wisely tapped into her contacts, reaching out to a few big names to help with the video, and the response was incredible. Warwick Davis, Phillip Scofield, Piers Morgan and Lorraine Kelly, to name but a few, all recorded a personalised message to Oscar commending him on his bravery and wishing him luck with his assembly.
On how her son dealt with the daunting task of the initial assembly, Donna said, “Oscar loves being the centre of attention and told his new headmaster that he needed a microphone. He was met with a huge round of applause after, and was hopeful that he had encouraged other children to start conversations about how it is ok to be different.”
After Oscar had shown the video to his school, Donna posted it online; and the rest, as they say, is history. The video has had over 62,000 views on Facebook and more than 10,000 views on Oscar’s school’s social media page, but this newly acquired fame goes over Oscar’s head.
“Oscar simply wants to continue to open up the channels of communication in schools so that other children can feel more comfortable in their own skin.”
Oscar simply wants to continue to open up the channels of communication in schools so that other children can feel more comfortable in their own skin
According to his mum, Oscar himself has never been bullied, just constantly questioned about his appearance for as long as he can remember. She says, “Oscar is very confident and has no trouble or issues with telling people, adults and children alike, about his condition and why it makes him different. He is passionate about everyone being accepted for who they are and feels strongly about helping to prevent any bullying behaviour.”
On the topic of bullying, we have heard on the grapevine that Oscar is in talks with Andy Day, CBeebies presenter and Anti-Bullying Alliance Patron, about his involvement in this year’s Anti-Bullying Week, but Donna is unable to share any details of this with us, simply saying we should “watch this space” when it comes to her son’s next steps!
So, what can she tell us about the future for Oscar?
Well, he is passionate about acting, no surprises there, and is currently filming a short film called “The Gang Buster’ which is being produced by Mark Adderley, husband to Nadia Sawalha. Mark has recently posted on Twitter about working with Oscar on this project and he simply said, “Directing Oscar! He’s a natural this lad!”
He is also wants to visit more local schools and share his video with the hope to set a precedent with other children that being different is OK. A goal we are sure he will accomplish. Oscar ends his video by saying;
“I think it’s pretty cool to be different, and really boring to be the same as everyone else. What do you think?”
What to do if your child is being bullied
- Listen to them without getting angry or upset
- Ask them how they would like you to help rather than simply taking matters into your own hands
- Reassure your child that what is happening is not their fault
- Try and reduce the stigma around bullying; tell them about a celebrity that they admire who has been bullied for example
- Practice role-playing with your child in how they can respond to bullies
- Help build up their confidence outside of school
- Make an appointment with the school to discuss their anti-bulling policies and to find a solution to the issue.
- Accuse the school
- Demand to confront the bully or the bully’s parents
- Encourage your child to hit back or be physically violent to the bully
- Dismiss your child’s experiences or tell them to simply ignore the bully