A family in mourning: Relatives will never forget ‘brave’ Asad
Relatives of Asad Khan say they have yet to come to terms with his death, one month on from the 11-year-old’s suicide.
Iram Sultana and Hafzah Khan are the first cousins of Asad’s mum, Farheen Khan. Like many in the community, they were ‘struck to the core’ by the news of their young family member’s death, which came as a surprise to all who knew him.
Hafzah, who also has a child in Year 7, says the family remains in mourning.
“The family are still in the same pain they have been since the day he died,” she said. “We don’t want any other family to go through the same pain as we have.
“What must he have been going through at that time? We will always be wondering, what was he thinking, why did he do that, all these questions that will never be answered.
“The signs were not noticeable until after he died.”
Asad was reportedly bullied by older children at Beckfoot Upper Heaton School and took his own life around one month into starting his first academic year.
Thousands of people attended his funeral on Tuesday 4th October, as community leaders demanded ‘more to be done’ in tackling bullying in Bradford’s schools.
Iram said: “Not long ago I was a Secondary school student as well. I feel that the transition between Primary and Secondary school is very big.
“I was afraid to move up from Primary school to High school. Teachers would even say that you are the babies of the school again.
“I stood up for myself but Asad was much more contained. He was a very brave child but maybe he didn’t have the confidence to stand up to bullies. He shouldn’t have had to anyway.”
Adding that authorities should look at the possibility of ‘middle schools’, Iram continued: “The campaign to get middle schools back is something that needs looking at.
“Even if we can’t separate kids completely in a different school, there has to be a way to keep them separate in the same school.”
Whilst safeguarding students remains a priority for schools across the district, Asad’s death has raised questions about whether some pupils are too afraid to speak up.
“Kids feel embarrassed if they are being bullied,” Hafzah said. “We need to get rid of that idea.
“People don’t see bullying as a criminal offence and the police don’t either. It has become a normal thing but it shouldn’t be.
“This little boy has lost his life. So many people have come forward now and admitted that they used to get bullied. We need to break down the barrier of children feeling embarrassed about stepping forward if they are victimised.”