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Crowe pledges support to anti-bullying measures

5 February, 2012 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Fein Deputy Seán Crowe met in Leinster House with members of the National Anti-Bullying Coalition and pledged his support for the examination of a strategy to address the problem of bullying in schools. 

Deputy Crowe was accompanied to the meeting by Sligo- Leitrim TD Micheál Colreavy and Senator Kathryn O’Reilly the party’s education spokesperson in the Seanad. The Sinn Féin representatives committed their full and active support to the establishment of a new forum to tackle bullying in schools.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“This was a very useful discussion and I wish to commend the work of the National Anti-Bullying Coalition (NABC) for the important work it is doing to introduce structural change in the way bullying is dealt with in schools.

“Government claims that we are making progress in addressing this issue do not reflect the reality in many schools, where bullying is extremely damaging and is often a contributory factor to mental health problems, self-harm and even suicide. 

“Recent studies have shown that bullying is related to physiological problems and absenteeism amongst staff and pupils. 

“We need to recognise that many victims of bullying are forced to leave school and this leads to problems in later life.

“We also know that over half of male bullies have at least one criminal conviction and these figures seem to be rising.

“Ireland is a signatory to the Council of Europe’s Children’s Charter yet there is no training for teachers to deal with this issue and there is no clear mechanism in place in schools where complaints can be properly and thoroughly dealt with.

“At Friday’s meeting I pledged Sinn Féin's support for the work of the NABC and the implementation of the Safe School Programme that will introduce accredited measures to address bullying. 

"I welcome NABC efforts to establish a forum to overhaul treatment of this problem: a training programme to recognise bullying; a school strategy for dealing with disclosure and the implementation of audits in the education system to assess what the classroom climate in schools is really like. This is a growing problem and it must be tackled.”

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