Bullied teen would ‘hide in the garage at home’
THE parents of Breannah Piva, who took her own life in 2015 after being relentlessly bullied, are taking legal action against her high school in north Queensland.
Joanne and Michael Piva, who are being represented by Shine Lawyers, said their 16-year-old daughter took her life after being "tormented" both physically and verbally.
Breannah, who made the heartbreaking decision to end her life in May 2015, had become crippled by the effects of nine years of bullying.
Her father, Mr Piva, says he and his wife had informed the school on multiple occasions, but "nothing was done".
"Breannah didn't put up with just verbal abuse, she was physically abused. She was tormented at work and she was harassed walking up the street. She was thrown in front of vehicles."
Breannah had dreams of becoming a model, who her mum describes as "bright, bubbly" and "very humorous" who loved life.
But her aunt Sharon, who would often take photos of Breannah for her portfolio, believes the images may have been a trigger for bullies.
"When she uploaded those photos on Facebook there was a lot of negative comments saying that she loved herself," Sharon said.
"She was actually really ashamed of her body because of it."
Breannah's sisters Isabella and Michaela said her bullies had nothing better to do with their lives, and that jealousy caused them to target her.
"People would bully her because of the way she walked, because you have to walk in a certain way for modelling," Michaela said
"She's been doing it since she was young, so it's just how she started walking and people would bully her for it."
Mrs Piva said that she and her husband spoke to the parents of the bullies, as well as the school about the abuse.
"He [principal] assured us that it [bullying] wouldn't happen and there was a no bullying policy in the school," she said.
"[But] It continued, continued, continued until grade five. Second day of school she had her head flushed down the toilet."
According to the Channel Nine report, Breannah complained to the school 24 times over three years about the bullying.
"She was chased home from school on numerous occasions," Sharon said.
"She would hide in a garage at home when she did get home so they wouldn't find her."
"We had to ring triple-0 from Coles to report the kids," Mrs Piva added.
"On at least three or four occasions I recall I took Breannah to emergency.
"I reported every incident to the police, I took Breannah there, they took photos of her I got photos but they can never charge a person because they were always under the age of 17."
Solicitor Sarah Sarinas, who is representing the Priva family, says Breannah was let down by the system.
"She was struggling to cope," she said. "She was reaching out for help and support and she was let down time and time again by the school. They were aware of the problem and they didn't fix it.
"The school owed Breannah a duty of care to provide a safe environment that was reasonably free from physical and emotional harm and we say that they absolutely failed to do that.
"Nothing was done and it's led to such tragic and devastating consequences for this family."
Mr Piva said it didn't take long for his daughter to spend more and more time locked in her bedroom.
"Social media plays a big part," Sharon said.
"She had to close her account down three or four times ... but her main bullying was done face-to-face in the schoolyards.
"Kids that age shouldn't be thinking about suicide, they shouldn't be thinking about being bullied. It's just terrible".
The Piva family have set up the Do It For Bree foundation, where they provide free resources for schools to help deal with stamping out bullying.
If you or someone you know needs help, phone Lifeline on 131 114 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636. Kids Helpline, a free 24/7 counselling service for children, young people and their parents or carers, can be contacted on 1800 551 800.