Study shows bullies have new victim

By: Kali Nicole

Abigail Parish's parents say they knew when their disabled daughter had taken too much bullying when all she asked for for her birthday this year, was to not have to go back to school. With the help of this study's findings, they hope everyone can be more aware.

At home with her family, Abigail Parish is your everyday 13-year-old girl. To the rest of the world, Abigail is different. She is special needs and at school, in her integrated classes, her parents say Abigail is bullied.

“I pick her up from school and she gets in and she has Sharpie markings all over her face and I ask her what it is and she says she did it because kids told her to. When I ask her why she said she wants to fit in,” said William Parish, Abigail's Dad.

It's not uncommon for disabled children, that's according to a new study out, led by a Psychology Professor at UNL.

In it, results show students who receive special education services are at an increased risk for being bullied, and bullying others. A side effect of the ridicule, something the Parish family has seen and tried to address first hand.

“She just shuts down, she cries and she's so upset she locks herself in her room,” said William. The study says, specifically, students with language or hearing impairments or mild mental handicaps, like Abigail's, have the highest levels of being bullied or bullying.

A new factor for school's like Irving to consider when perfecting their anti-bullying campaigns already in place.

“Our special needs students are sometimes in classes with our general ed students so together we want to educate them about bullying,” said Principal Hugh McDermott.

An effort the Parish family says can only help ease the pain of a lifetime of harassment and hurt. Irving Middle School already works with UNL on their anti-bullying campaign and says with this new information, hopefully next school year, they'll be even more prepared for incidences like the one Abigail has endured.