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Protection for pupils and teachers from the bullies

2 March, 2007

Sinn Féin Foyle Assembly election candidate Martina Anderson has said more resources need to be provided for schools here after a new survey ' The Young Life and Times Survey' found that 30 % of 16-year-olds in North were bullied at school within a two month period

The Young Life and Times Survey carried out by North's two Universities investigated young people's experiences of school bullying by asking questions about the extent of school bullying and about the help that schools offer their pupils that suffer from it.

Ms Anderson said

"This findings of this survey follow a similar pattern to other studies carried out in recent times about the issue of bullying of pupils and at the same time teachers unions are also pointing to an increase on bullying of teachers, all of which is very worrying.

"What needs to happen is that proactive policies are put in place where both pupils and teaching staff are protected ensuring that the rights of the teacher to teach, and pupils to learn, in a disruption-free environment. The necessary administrative supports must also be there for schools dealing with these processes.

"School discipline, or indeed the need for it, has become a core issue in Irish education. All students and teachers alike should have the right to a school experience exempt from bullying and disruption. Physical, verbal and emotional abuse should have no place in our classrooms,

"Parents must also be aware of the dangers of cyber bullying as unlike other forms of bullying, it can follow children and young people and teaching staff into their private lives and outside school hours, not only can it seriously damages the victim's self-esteem but also their mental and physical health.

"Internet chat rooms, emails, mobile phones enables bullies to develop increasingly sophisticated techniques with which to torment their victims so we must always be looking at ways to prevent it. Technology is moving so quickly it's hard to keep up with the dangers it can create so we must be to the fore in highlighting these, as the welfare of the child and teaching staff is paramount." ENDS

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