Charley Patterson Ends Pain of Bullying

Bullying Hasn’t Taken a Break During the Pandemic

No Reprieve for Charley Patterson

In case you were hoping that kids were getting a reprieve from bullying during the pandemic that has kept many schools around the world on lockdown, please know that is not the case. The opportunity for cyber-bulling, in fact, has increased with remote learning. And its potential consequences are unimaginably dire.

A 12-year-old girl, Charley Patterson of Cramlington, Northumberland (which is in England), has ended her fight against bullying in the only way she felt was available to her: suicide.

A Bullied Child Runs Out of Time

According to a Metro UK story, Charley had been self-harming since November, months before the pandemic began.  She had received medical treatment at a hospital. However, although Charley had “repeatedly sought help from mental health services,” help wasn’t immediately available to her. She was put on a waiting list for Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS), but the wait could be as long as 3 years.

Charley couldn’t wait for that. She waited as long as she could. But, eventually, she ran out of time.

During the pandemic, children relentlessly bullied Charley online. It was a continuation of the abuse they had subjected her to in the classroom. Her mom took away her telephone in an attempt to stop the cyber-bullying, but her tormentors pursued her, anyway. They taunted her via the Chromebook that Charley used for her classes.

The children who abused Charley had all the power, and Charley had all the pain. As much as her family loved and supported her, they couldn’t make the pain end.

Charley had two brothers and two sisters. Chronicle Live reports that Charley Patterson “was a bright, caring, funny girl, who loved animals and wanted nothing more than to become a zookeeper.” Charley was kind to other children. She deserved kindness in return.

No Silver Linings

If you’re tempted to believe there may be a silver lining to the pandemic, because it is sparing some children from having to meet their abusers in person — remember Charley. And, please, remember all the children who are targets of cyber-bullying.

According to the Metro UK, “The family have launched a campaign calling for ‘Charley’s Law’ which would make it a legal requirement for young people to get mental health support more quickly.” Let’s hope the proposed law receives the support it needs. Enough is enough.




  1. This breaks my heart. My question is do the parents or a family member go to the school and ask for a meeting with the bullies and their parents?

    1. Cassie, me, too. Good question. Here’s the U.S. government’s go-to clearinghouse for information: According to the site’s home page, yes, it is appropriate to contact the school’s teacher, counselor, principal, and superintendent, as well as the State Department of Education. In my opinion, it would help to ask to meet with the bullies and their parents…sometimes. If a good (albeit, troubled) child from a caring family is bullying, having a face-to-face conversation might help. If not, though — if you’re dealing with sadistic bullies from sadistic families — then I’d think it would be better to let the school administrators step in and act as intermediaries.

  2. Very true. When my daughter and I lived in West Palm Beach, Florida and she went to Jupiter High a girl threatened her with a knife. After gaining some sense of calmness, I reached out to Riviera Beach Police and the “young lady” was discharged from the school. I had absolutely no idea what to do initially and honestly neither did the school. I dont believe the school district had a clue how to deal with the issue. I believe they cared but it was obvious the responsibility was all mine. I really wish we could use this as an avenue for parents to seek resources, information, and personal assistance when facing these bullies AND their parents because I do consider them as one and the same.

    1. That’s a great idea. I’m glad the police were able to help. A knife? I can only imagine your daughter’s terror and how helpless you must have felt. If the school felt legally vulnerable, I know they’d help. Why does the criminal justice system let school administrators and teachers walk away when they’re supposed to protect kids? Some of them may care. But I think they’d care a whole lot more if they were looking at hefty fines and other legal consequences for neglect and incompetence.

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