Almost 700 primary, post-primary and special schools across Northern Ireland will be marking Anti-Bullying Week from today with a range of events and initiatives.
An innovative new TV advertising campaign — driven by the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF) and produced with the help of local young people — will also be aired for the first time today.
The adverts, based on the theme ‘Travelling To and From School Free From Bullying’, will run until Friday.
Anti-Bullying Week is in its fifth year and is co-ordinated by NIABF, an inter-agency group hosted by Save the Children. The week provides an opportunity for schools to reinforce their anti-bullying policy and practices to teachers, ancillary staff, children and parents.
Poster displays, themed assemblies, lesson activities and circle time exercises are just some of the activities taking place in the participating schools.
Lee Kane, regional anti-bullying co-ordinator with NIABF, said: “Many young people travel to and from school each day in a variety of ways, and unfortunately some experience bullying during these journeys. This is not acceptable.
“Bullying can have serious consequences for children, leading to academic underachievement, physical and emotional distress, loss of self-esteem, eating disorders and truancy.”
Meanwhile, the NSPCC is calling for parents to help their children stay safe in cyberspace as part of Anti-Bullying Week.
Paddy Shannon, ChildLine Northern Ireland assistant director, said: “Bullying online is as serious as bullying in the real world and it must not be tolerated.”