Breannah Piva. Photo supplied.
Breannah Piva. Photo supplied.

Sick bullying before teenager’s death: Parents to sue

PUSHED in front of a car, chased home from school, told she was "too fat" to model and physically assaulted, Breannah Piva's final years of life were plagued by constant bullying according to documents filed in a Townsville court.

The parents of 16-year-old Breannah Piva, who killed herself on May 21 2015, are preparing to sue Queensland's Department of Education and Training over the bullying at Ayr State High School they say is responsible for her death.

Joanne and Michael Piva this week filed documents with the Townsville District Court seeking the permission to take legal action against the State of Queensland outside the usual legal time frame.

They both claim they have received psychological injuries as a result of their daughter's death and that the school failed to take adequate steps to stop the bullying or discipline students involved in bullying.

Personal injury claims must be brought within three years but the Pivas have applied to be able to bring a claim after that period, with coroner's findings from Breannah's death yet to be handed down.

Breannah Piva’s tourmentors pushed her in front of a car, physically assaulted her and would chase her home from school.
Breannah Piva’s tourmentors pushed her in front of a car, physically assaulted her and would chase her home from school.

According to the affidavit from solicitor Sarah Salinas from Shine Lawyers, the State of Queensland has said they would not take part in a compulsory conference until the coroner's findings were complete. Proceedings cannot start in a court until after a compulsory conference.

Ms Salinas told the Townsville Bulletin steps had been taken to ensure that the Piva could still make their claim outside the limitation period.

"The Pivas aren't giving up and they will continue to seek justice for Breannah," she said.

The notice of claim submitted to the Department of Education and Training in October 2015 by the Pivas sets out a chronology of some the bullying they say Breannah experienced.

The list of incidents includes being pushed in front of car, being physically assaulted, getting chased home from school, being taunted and having rumours spread about her.

Joanne and Michael Piva with a picture of their daughter Breannah. Picture: Evan Morgan
Joanne and Michael Piva with a picture of their daughter Breannah. Picture: Evan Morgan

According to the documents filed at court, the Ayr State High School was aware of Breannah self harming and making suicide attempts ahead of her death.

Ms Piva said there were plenty of warning signs with Breannah.

"We had gone to the police, she was engaging with her school counsellor and teachers, she was engaging with everyone but no one was listening," she said.

"Nothing will bring back Breannah ... but maybe we can save another life."

Ms Piva said it was important to talk about youth suicide and mental health.

"It's always been a taboo subject," she said.

"It just seems that the ones who are speaking out are the ones who have lost their kids or lost someone to suicide."

Ms Piva will later this month lead a group of cyclists from Ayr to Airlie Beach in a 200km ride to raise awareness of youth mental health, suicide and bullying as part of her Do It For Bree foundation.

The ride will be held on May 20 and 21 to coincide with the three year anniversary of Breannah's death with more information available via the Do It For Bree Facebook page.


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