The wife of a top footballer has sparked debate over the use of force to retaliate against child bullies after she praised her teenage daughter for punching you in the face.
Bianca Austin, married to former Southampton striker Charlie Austin, opened up about her pride after her 16-year-old hit the girl after weeks of being verbally abused.
Ms Austin, 35, tweeted: “After numerous calls to the school and nothing changed, today my daughter finally slapped the bully in the face when she was being verbally abused. Proud mom.”
Her post, seen by 1.9million users of the social media site, had two clapping emojis to support her daughter who is studying for GCSEs.
The inclusion of mother-of-three Ms Austin sparked much debate among her 11,000 followers, with many supporting her belligerence.
Bianca Austin with her footballer husband Charlie
Austin in action for Queens Park Rangers against Reading in the EFL Sky Bet Championship
One wrote back: “Good on her she did exactly what needed to be done. Shame on the school for not clearing up the bullying when you first called them.
Another said: “I’m a pacifist in general but the best advice I’ve ever been given is don’t let bullies get away with it.
“Ignoring didn’t work; Ignoring a fire doesn’t put it out. If you’re being bullied, fight. If you see someone being bullied, fight for them.”
But Ms Austin, who is training to be a nurse, has been criticized by others. One said: “Your daughter should never hit anyone. I understand that bullying is terrible and harmful, but when I said your daughter’s actions would make things worse, now you can see where I was going. Bullying someone “back” by hitting them is also bullying.”
Ms Austin replied: “I would be interested to hear how you would propose a solution to the bullying Michelle.
“The school couldn’t stop it, it was destroying her sanity and hampering her GCSE studies, what is the right course of action here?! She also didn’t “bully” back.
“Bullying is repeated behavior designed to hurt someone emotionally and physically. She has no malicious intentions, all she wants is to be left alone and enjoy school in peace!’
Ms Austin, whose husband, 33, was 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 bullied her.
She shared how she called the school to find out what punishment her daughter’s rival had received.
She wrote: “********* is currently in expulsion while the other child is in class. I asked what sanction they [the bully] received and was told she was only verbally abusive, but the sanctions of other students are not to be discussed with me, so who knows.’
Ms Austin later opened up about the bully’s punishment while taking a swipe at the school, writing: “Two days expulsion for my daughter while the other child went to class because she was ‘only’ verbally abused. No wonder school bullying never stops… Chin up *********.’
The National Bullying Helpline says if parents and carers feel teachers are not taking satisfactory action, they should contact their local authority to remind them that they have a “legal duty” to ensure that they are all children in schools are safe at all times.