Ruane launches anti-bullying campaign
Sinn Féin Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has unveiled an anti-bullying mural in Belfast city centre to coincide with anti-bullying week.
The artwork, situated in Cornmarket, was completed by 16 pupils from Balmoral High and Holy Family Primary schools with the assistance of Blaze FX and carries an anti-bullying 'graffiti' style message.
Welcoming the novel approach at communicating the anti-bullying message, Caitríona Ruane said:
"This excellent art work provides a colourful reminder that bullying is not and never will be, acceptable in our schools, nor in our society as a whole.
"We need to listen to the voices of our children in order to successfully tackle the scourge of bullying and projects such as this can provide the opportunity for our young people to articulate their feelings in a positive and creative way."
The project was organised by the Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF), an independent body comprising of statutory and non-statutory organisations with a role to play in preventing and tackling bullying and creating a safe environment for children and young people.
The Forum, funded by the Department of Education, helps schools and organisations working with young people to develop appropriate strategies to prevent and deal with bullying behaviours.
The Minister continued:
"All too often we are seeing the disastrous effects of bullying on our young people. Not only do we need to seek more ways to prevent bullying, but we need to do more to support those that have suffered as victims. We need to actively listen to their concerns, encourage young people to have their say and ensure effective support mechanisms are in place when professional help is needed.
"We are all responsible for our young people, we as friends, as parents and carers, as teachers and as policy makers. I hope this mural will raise the profile and dangers of bullying in the minds of all who pass by this thought provoking piece of art work." ENDS
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The mural was completed by 8 pupils from Year 6 at Holy Family Primary School and 8 pupils from Year 10 at Balmoral High.
- The pupils worked with a small team from Blaze FX through a series of workshops and following this work, Blaze FX provided the outline sketches for the hoardings.
- The launch takes place during Anti-Bullying Week 2007 (19-23 November). This year's focus is racist bullying and cyber bullying.
- The NIABF have arranged a series of events and activities for anti-bullying week including a poster competition. The winning posters will be displayed on buses over the next fortnight.