28/06/2007

Education Minister targets school bullying

Education Minister Caitríona Ruane has spoke today of the dangers that bullying in schools poses to society, following the publication of a new report

Ms Ruane was speaking as she received a research report into the nature and extent of bullying within our schools, undertaken by the University of Ulster.

The report, called ‘The Nature and Extent of Bullying in Schools in the North of Ireland’ revealed that 43% of primary school children and 29% of post-primary perceive they have been bullied at least once.

The Minister commented: “Bullying is unacceptable in our schools and I am committed to tackling the issue head-on.

“Mental health problems are one of the most obvious consequences of bullying and can have terrible repercussions.”

She continued: “Our children need to feel safe and secure in their school environment. This research provides us with further insight into the nature and extent of bullying in our schools and will help us in our efforts to tackle this problem.”

The research also found that, in both primary and post-primary schools, 22% of pupils admitted acting as ‘the bully’ at one time or another, with the most common form of bullying being name-calling, mockery and teasing. Boys tended to be the victims and perpetrators of physical bullying, wheras girls were more inclined to bully through exclusion.

In conclusion, the Minister said: “Our society and our schools are growing more diverse everyday and we need to teach our children the importance of respect for the equal rights of all children in our society. Tackling the scourge of bullying is fundamental in winning this battle.”

(JM)


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