A TEENAGE boy took a kitchen knife to school to defend himself against bullies, a court was told.

The 14-year-old pulled the knife on two boys who immediately reported him to a member of staff, said Blair Martin, prosecuting.

He told the youth court that a teacher went to a classroom to question the boy - who swore before producing the blade from his school bag and placing it on a table.

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The incident happened at a school in County Durham one Friday afternoon in March.

Mr Martin told magistrates in Newton Aycliffe that the boy, who cannot be identified because of his age, later told police that he did not know why he had the knife but had produced it when he got angry.

He pleaded guilty to possessing a bladed article on school premises.

Sonny Lawson, representing the teenager, said the lad had armed himself in self defence.

He said the boy had already moved schools several times because of previous bullying issues.

“This is a very sad story, he would say he has been the victim of systematic bullying in each school, and that has just not been verbal attacks but also physical ones as well.

“He was assaulted quite badly while walking home from one of his previous schools and has always been targeted by bullies.

“Everyday he was being verbally abused and at this point he took the unfortunate decision to arm himself with a knife in case he required it for self defence.

“He knows now that that is not the answer. Children at times can be so cruel, this young man is a victim who reacted in a bad way and with a criminal conviction could now affect his future career.”

Mr Lawson said the boy is now faring much better having been removed from mainstream education.

“He is no longer being bullied other than perhaps a bit of name calling which he has learned to ignore.”

Magistrates described the offence as “very very serious” and warned the boy he would have faced jail had he been 16.

He was given a three month youth referral order and his mother was ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.