O’Dowd launches Anti-Bullying Week
Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has launched this year’s Anti-Bullying Week at the Long Gallery, Stormont.
This year’s theme focuses on cyber bullying and pupils were asked to participate in a competition to provide either a poster or a two minute movie around the theme.
Congratulating the pupils who were awarded prizes for their entries at the launch, Minister O’Dowd said: “The overwhelming number of entries to this competition shows that our young people feel strongly that bullying is an important issue. The creative posters and inventive movie entries provide us with an insightful reminder that bullying is not and never will be, acceptable in our schools, nor in our society as a whole.”
The competition was organised by the NI 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 for Education, helps schools and organisations working with young people to develop appropriate strategies to prevent and deal with bullying behaviours.
The Minister continued: “My Department recognises that we cannot deal with this issue alone – it is necessary to work in close partnership with statutory and voluntary organisations to address bullying in all its forms. It is for this reason that my Department plays an active role in and funds the local Anti-Bullying Forum.
“Research recently published by my Department revealed that cyber bullying is becoming prevalent and that this type of bullying is more likely to occur outside school hours. Everyone in our society has a role to play and we must work together to find ways to prevent it – as friends, as parents, as teachers and as a community.”
In conclusion, the Minister said: “Anti-Bullying Week is an excellent opportunity to remind the whole school community of their anti-bullying policy and practice. In light of emerging issues such as cyber bullying, I would remind schools of the importance of continuously updating their policies, ensuring that pupils and their parents are actively involved. Finally, I would encourage all schools to make use of the excellent resources provided by the NIABF to promote an anti-bullying culture in their schools.”