Cornwall

Girl found hanged at school felt 'bullied for being Polish'

Dagmara Przybysz Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Zelma Hill, Pool Academy's principal, described Dagmara as a 'beautiful, bright and creative' student

A teenager found hanged in a school toilet complained of being bullied and being called a "stupid Pole" by other pupils, an inquest has heard.

Dagmara Przybysz, 16, was found at Pool Academy in Cornwall last May.

In a message written the night before her death, she complained of others "saying things about me because I'm from Poland".

Recording an open verdict, coroner Dr Emma Carlyon accepted Dagmara had been upset by the incidents.

Dr Carlyon said although evidence suggested a "self-inflicted death" no notes or other evidence of an intention to take her own life were found.

The three-day inquest heard Dagmara had told her parents, Jedrzej and Ewelina Przybysz, and boyfriend Lewis Simpson that she was being bullied.

During the hearing, Dagmara's parents asked questions about the recording of bullying incidents at the school.

'Kicked down door'

In response to assistant principal Lisette Neesham stating that no incidents of bullying had been reported by Dagmara or anyone on her behalf, her mother said: "She said to staff about bullying. Why did nobody do anything?"

The school's pastoral support worker Susan Kent said to the best of her knowledge Dagmara had "never mentioned any problems with racism to me or any other person at school".

Dr Carlyon said although Dagmara was upset before her death, "She was clearly enjoying the relationship with Lewis and was making plans for the school ball".

Det Sgt Steve Panter said he didn't have details of "how significant" the bullying incidents were in "Dagmara's decision" on the day she died.

The delay in discovering Dagmara's body was also raised by her parents at the inquest.

'Too late'

She was seen on CCTV entering a toilet in the maths corridor at 12:14 BST - but was not found for more than 90 minutes - at 13:50 when two pupils raised the alarm.

A 999 call was made but school co-ordinator Paula Hosking told the inquest no CPR was attempted by school staff despite advice from the ambulance service.

"We knew Dagmara had died and decided not to carry out CPR. We knew it was all too late," she said.

Paramedic Christopher Rogers said there was "frustration" on the call as it was five minutes 38 seconds before the call handler was told what had happened.

There were also issues with phone signal between the school's reception and where the incident had taken place.

Image caption Pool Academy said Dagmara was 'a beautiful young lady who was popular with her peers'

The inquest heard that the school had a system whereby a missing child should be found within 20 minutes, but nobody had looked for Dagmara.

An Ofsted report dated June 2017 said safeguarding was effective at the school.

After the inquest, Pool Academy said Dagmara's death had "shocked and saddened" the whole school and it had strengthened safeguarding procedures "since the tragic incident."

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