Tens of thousands raised online for teen after footage of bullying in the UK goes viral

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By Emma Beswick
Copyright: GoFundMe
Copyright: GoFundMe   -   Copyright  GoFundMe

A crowdfunding page set up for a 15-year-old-boy who was being bullied at school has garnered more than £70,000 (€79,000) of donations in just one day.

The page's creator, Mohammed Tahir, said he made the GoFundMe appeal after he saw a video that was widely shared on social media showing a teen being attacked on the playing fields at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK.

A fellow pupil appears to choke the boy, who has a cast on his arm, pinning him to the ground and squirting water from a bottle in his face.

Superintendent Steve Dodds, of West Yorkshire Police Kirklees District, said: “We are investigating a report of a racially-aggravated assault of a 15-year-old boy which occurred on playing fields at Almondbury Community School at about 1 pm on October 25."

West Yorkshire Police said in a statement on Wednesday that a "16-year-old youth has been interviewed and reported for summons, for an offence of assault. He will appear at Youth Court in due course."

The statement added that the victim "suffered a wrist injury" in a "previous unconnected incident" on October 7.

It said the incident was "fully investigated at the time", with three youths interviewed. However, no further police action was taken and the matter was referred to the school.

The GoFundMe page's description claimed the teen is a Syrian refugee who "has been subject to months of bullying along with his little sister."

Its creator says he wanted to raise money for the boy's family who "struggle to meet the basic necessities of life."

"We want to raise money for the family to ease their situation and hopefully, they can use the funds to help improve their quality of life and to put a smile on their faces," he wrote.

Tahir said he knew the family through a friend who did regular charity work in Huddersfield involving giving food donations to refugee families.

He added that he was working with GoFundMe "to ensure that all the money gets to the boy and his family and that he would add the relevant guardians as the beneficiaries of the total funds.

Reactions on Twitter saw Tahir applauded. "Well done Sir, and well done the good people of Great Britain. This is a beautiful response to hatred," wrote one user.

Others demanded further confirmation that all the funds would go to the boy in the video.

"Is there a way we get more assurance that the family will receive all the money?" said another.

At the time of writing, the page had £71,335 in donations.

GoFundMe told Euronews it had verified the authenticity of the page.

Euronews contacted Almondbury Community School and in a statement, Head Teacher Trevor Bowen confirmed the incident took place at the school's Fernside site a number of weeks ago.

"Since the incident occurred in October, the school, the local authority and the police have all taken action," Bowen said.

"We must allow the legal process to take its course, but I want to be absolutely clear that we do not tolerate unacceptable behaviour of any sort in our school."