The grieving family of 13-year-old Onyx Rose, a trans boy who died by suicide in Queensland, have rallied against a “toxic” culture of bullying at Beaudesert State High School.
Beaudesert High student Onyx Rose Lambert took his own life on July 16. On Monday, Onyx’s mum Michelle Lambert told the protest rally that Onyx was bullied at the school and online for more than a year.
The 13-year-old was in his second year at Beaudesert High, an hour west of Brisbane.
Onyx Rose had changed his name and started identifying as male, but his family said the horrific bullying stretched back before that.
Mum Michelle had contacted the school numerous times, but she accused officials of failing to do enough to stop the bullying.
Onyx Rose’s mental health declined significantly before the student’s tragic death last month.
The teenager’s grieving family say he needed to receive help earlier, but was “crushed by bullies”.
“It wasn’t Onyx-Rose’s fault that this happened. It was the bullies, it was the lack of supervision, the lack of attention, the lack of caring,” Michelle Lambert told A Current Affair.
Families call for change after Beaudesert teens’ suicides
After Onyx Rose’s death, the Courier-Mail published horrifying accounts of bullying at Beaudesert High School, stretching back years.
At the protest rally in Beaudesert on Monday, Onyx Rose’s mum and siblings were joined by another parent, Jasmine Osborne.
Jasmine’s daughter Lilly also died by suicide in November 2021. The mum said her daughter couldn’t escape the bullying and suffered physical violence.
“I just couldn’t understand why people just didn’t want to help,” she told A Current Affair.
Both of the grieving parents are pleading for justice and “change within the schools” to protect other children.
Education Department held forum for families after student deaths
Onyx Rose’s family also met with Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace last week.
An education department spokesperson said the Beaudesert High community “has recently faced significant tragedy.”
“The passing of much-loved students has rocked the school community and has been an unfathomable loss for the students’ families,” they said.
“The department takes a zero-tolerance approach to bullying and is committed to investigating and acting decisively when matters are brought to our attention.
“In response to the issues raised, the department recently held a forum for families. Suggestions made at this forum have been developed into an action plan.
“Immediate steps include increasing the Chaplain position from part time to full time, consultation on the School Code of Conduct, and enhanced student supervision at breaktimes, while extensive toilet facility upgrades and expansion of year level play precincts will be completed later in the year.
“This is in addition to other support including a full-time social worker, a clinical nurse that specialises in adolescent mental health, and guidance officers.”
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