Teachers to log cases of bullying
All teachers will have to keep log books recording individual cases of bullying under new Government plans to tackle the "scourge" of Ireland's schools.
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said recent suicides among young victims of bullying highlighted a need for a comprehensive action plan.
He said schools need to take action and that policy alone is no longer enough.
"For some children, bullying is a scourge that can violate these nurturing environments and in the process obliterate their happiness," Mr Quinn said.
All teachers by this September will be required to follow a template outlined by the Government for recording incidents of bullying at primary and secondary levels.
Teachers will receive training under the new 12-point Action Plan on Bullying to help them identify cases in the classroom.
"You could actually measure what the incidents were and taking professional advice, decide whether the problem was above normal, or required a particular kind of response. But if it's not recorded, it's not there," Mr Quinn said.
The action plan also includes a pledge to tackle homophobic bullying and to ensure teachers recognise when a child might be targeted based on his or her sexuality.
Ireland's national LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) youth service BeLonG To hailed the commitment as a breakthrough.
Executive director Michael Barron said: "This action plan is a critical breakthrough and marks a historic recognition by government that homophobic and transphobic bullying are urgent issues that have serious impacts on young people's mental health."