Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Time for schools to tackle scourge of bullies

WITH yet another tragedy in the news, where a pre-teenage child took their own life as direct result of unchecked bullying, it is time that schools – where the vast majority of peer-based bullying originates – took a proactive approach.

In spite of every school being required to publish their anti-bullying policies, due to legislative directives, in reality they are rarely enforced. School should be a real place of safety for every child – not just a clause on an obscure piece of literature, or website.

In a recent case of severe bullying in north Belfast, a child was threatened continuously and, in spite of the child's parents' pleas for help, no substantive action was taken.

In this case, the child missed important exams, so great was their fear of the bullies, undoubtedly compounded by the school's laissez faire approach.

As parents, on close to nine months per year, we entrust schools with our children. In effect, we trust them to act as de jure parents. But, unfortunately, in a substantial number of cases, neglect of this duty has led to real tragedies.

Let us all endeavour, as concerned parents and educational professionals, to make our schools a genuine place of safety for the young souls we entrust to these institutions.

With a little concern, compassion and vigilance, we can all play our part in ending school-based bullying tragedies.

CONCERNED PARENT

Belfast

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