06 February 2017

Labour Party spokesperson on Education, Joan Burton has today called on the Minister for Education and Skills to publish an updated Action Plan on Bullying.

“Not six months has passed since Minister Bruton published his last Action Plan for Education, and in today’s updated version, the Minister makes scant reference to tackling bullying.

“A year on since the expiry of the Action Plan for Bullying an updated approach is now needed.

“The previous Action Plan for Bullying, introduced by my colleague RuairĂ­ Quinn in 2012, was the first of it’s kind in Irish schools.

“This plan was successful because it recognised the many forms and places that bullying exists and brought agencies together to tackle bullying.

“Alarming figures published today by DCU tell us that 14% of primary school students and 10% of post-primary school students have been cyber-bullied. These stark figures prove that an updated strategy is now needed to help teachers and parents adapt to the way our children are communicating.

“The changing nature of online communication means it is not as easy for our teachers to spot bullying.While cyber-bullying is seriously affecting young people across the country it is also having an impact on parents, teachers and adults who feel that they are unable to tackle the issue properly. It is vital that we find solutions to remedy the problem Many schools have been doing excellent work in highlighting and dealing with bullying over recent years, but it is clear that the approach must be more focused and that schools need more assistance and direction.

“A far more robust response is also needed from social media companies on cyber-bullying. These companies must take an active role in the prevention of cyber-bullying.

“Instead of churning out a rushed and repackaged action plan, Minister Bruton would be better off publishing a plan to help children who are victims of bullying.”

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