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This little boy was "bullied to death". Now his mother wants to see some change.

joshua taylor bullying laws
Joshua Taylor. (Photo: Change.org petition)

Trigger warning: this post deals with issues of suicide and bullying, and may be triggering for some readers.

Joshua Taylor used to be the type of kid to jump out of bed at first light.

At 14, the active, mischievous boy was straddling that unique gap between childhood and adulthood: already capable of welding, driving a truck and repairing fences on the family farm, Joshua nevertheless sported the cute, freckly grin of a little boy.

Joshua, or “Josh” to his family, was a happy kid with a whole life ahead of him, as his mother Cherie Taylor told The Courier Mail.

But all that changed when he was mid-way through Year Eight at his Brisbane school.

Josh began to be incessantly bullied, becoming so fearful of the group of boys who taunted him that he began stealing money to pay them to leave him alone.

“For months we couldn’t get it to stop,” Ms Taylor said. “We asked the school to step in – they just said he should go elsewhere.”

The previously vibrant adolescent withdrew into himself, started sleeping in, and didn’t want to attend school anymore.

Then, in March last year, Joshua took his own life.

joshua taylor bullying laws
Cherie Taylor (Photo: Change.org)
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His devastated parents found his unresponsive body, called an ambulance and watched over their beautiful boy in a hospital room as he slipped away.

“My heart skipped a beat. My darling was gone,” Ms Taylor told the Courier Mail. “I felt empty, lost and part of me died with him.”

In a sickening twist of irony, Joshua died just days after the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence.

“Bullied to death”

Now, his grieving mother Cherie Taylor wants justice for her little boy.

She says Josh was “bullied to death”- and she’s launched a Change.org petition calling for the introduction of national anti-bullying laws so other innocent children won’t suffer the same fate.

 “The kids who pushed him to it have no consequences at all – they don’t even know that what they did was wrong,” Ms Taylor wrote on the Change.org page.

“The week after Josh died they were doing burnouts on my lawn,” she said. “We have to show them that this isn’t ok.”

Ms Taylor is appalled that despite evidence that bullying remains “rampant” in Australia — 27 percent of students report being bullied, according to one Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study — no national anti-bullying laws exist.

Victoria did introduce anti-bullying legislation known as Brodie’s Law in 2011, but other states have yet to follow its lead.

(Note: This is a stock image.)

“It’s ridiculous that in today’s society there are still no laws to deal with it,” Ms Taylor said on the Change.org page.

“How will (the bullies) ever learn that this behaviour is unacceptable without some form of punishment? How will we ever actually stop this bullying?”

Over 300 people between the ages of 14-24 years took their own lives in 2012, many of whom were victims of bullying, News Corp reports, and other recent research reveals one in five Australian children aged eight to 15 has experienced cyberbullying alone.

Those frightening figures highlight a pressing need for a coordinated national legislative response to bullying — and soon.

“Too many lives have been lost and impacted by these people,” Ms Taylor said.

“I cry knowing there has been no justice for our Josh.”

You can sign Ms Taylor’s Change.org petition here.

If you need support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or by clicking here or contact the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

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