Child, 4, beaten up at Leiden school

(Photo: Ranveig/Dodo / Wikimedia Commons)(Photo: Ranveig/Dodo / Wikimedia Commons)

A 4-year-old boy came home from primary school De Meerpaal in Leiden on Monday with his face covered in bruises. His father Stephan de Wolff posted a photo of the boy's injuries on Facebook, with a call for help and to bring the issue of bullying under national attention. The post was shared nearly 40 thousand times.

"He did not dare to tell me what happened", De Wolff said to Omroep West. "Papa, if I tell you, I'll get even more punches", the boy said to his father. Eventually De Wolff convinced the boy to speak. He told his dad that two older boys pulled him into the bushes, kicked him to the ground and then punched him multiple times in the head. 

De Wolff immediately called the school. "It was said: 'It happens, they're children'." He then took his son to the doctor and the police, where he was told that legally nothing can be done against the children. "I'm sitting with my hands in my hair. Hence the cry for help on Facebook", he said to the broadcaster. "Is this the time we live in, where your son of 4 comes home and was beaten up in the bushes by two boys during break at school", he wrote on Facebook. "Must I teach my children how to beat in a skull with a stick to protect themselves?"

"I wrote it down for myself, but it exploded", De Wolff said to the broadcaster about his Facebook post. "It's not only at this school. It is a national problem: bullying, abuse. I want it to stop. Once and for all. It's time for parliament to look at this."

Marton de Pinth, director of the PROOLeiden school group which covers De Meerpaal, told Omroep West that they are taking the "signal seriously". The police, municipality and public health service GGD are investigating what happened, he said. "There is contact with the parents." The most important thing now is that the investigation happens carefully and objectively, De Pinth said. "Of course it is very upsetting. What we especially want is to keep the peace in the classes and teach in a calm way at school."

De Wolff kept his son at home for a few days, resulting in him missing a school trip on Wednesday. "I took him to Artis. I saw a smile on his face again, but you notice in his actions that he is still upset", the father said to Omroep West.