More than 8,000 people have signed a petition to make bullying a criminal offence after a video showing a girl being dragged by the hair at an Angus high school was widely circulated online.
Police launched an investigation after the footage, which showed a girl being pulled up and down a corridor while others watched and laughed, caused some parents to keep their children home from school.
It is understood that the pupils involved in the incident were given a three-day suspension from school.
The petition started by Emma Sturrock aims to make bullying a criminal offence and has been inundated with support.
In Scotland the age of criminal responsibility is eight years old and a child can be prosecuted from 12 years old.
Citizen’s Advice Scotland gives guidance on its website about young people and the law, stating: “Children under 12 can be referred to a children’s hearing if they appear to be at risk or vulnerable, for example because they’re assaulting others or stealing.
“They’re referred for their own care and protection, not for committing an offence. The hearing can decide how to help them and their family, which might be a compulsory supervision order.
“Children under 12 can’t be convicted or get a criminal record.
“If you’re aged from 12 to 15 and you commit a criminal offence, you’re most likely to be referred to the Children’s Reporter, who’ll decide whether to refer you to a children’s hearing. A decision by a children’s hearing can become part of a criminal record.
“A child of 12 or over can also be prosecuted for a criminal offence in court if the offence is serious.
“If you’re aged from 16 to 18 and you commit a criminal offence, you’ll usually be dealt with by the courts.”
It is understood all the girls in the video are aged between 12 and 15.
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Emma, who started the petition, said: “There was a video on social media of a school bullying dragging another girl by her ponytail while it is filmed by another girl under the stairwell at an Angus high school.
“In the film, there are witnesses who are laughing and encouraging the bullying to go on.
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“The only punishment these bullies got was a three-day suspension and their breaks taken away for a couple of days. However, this punishment is not enough to do justice for the victim.
“I want a stance to be taken by the school and Angus Council by getting the police involved to charge them with assault and for the school to expel the bullies from school and ban them from school property.
“Their current stance proves that school bullying does not make sense as if an adult did this in any public place they would be arrested, charged and prosecuted resulting in a criminal record that would ruin their life.”
The school is currently reviewing its anti-bullying policy and are urging parents to come forward to give their views on how the issue should be handled in the future.
An Angus Council spokeswoman said: “This is an ongoing matter and we are aware of the situation.
“The pupils involved and their parents have been spoken with and appropriate action has been taken.”