The ‘new Anti-Bullying Procedures launched my Minister Quinn today involve a significant updating of the 1993 guidelines and they provide much-needed clarity to schools and parents about the nature of bullying and how schools and parents can collaboratively address a problem that has reached epidemic proportions in the Internet age’ says Michael Moriarty, General Secretary of Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI).
According to Mr Moriarty:
- ‘The new procedures update the definition of bullying to allow for a once-off offensive or hurtful public message , image or statement on a social network site or other public forum where the message, image or statement can be viewed and/or repeated by others being now be regarded as bullying behaviour.
- ‘The prevention of bullying is a key and welcome focus of the new guidelines and here the emphasis is on establishing a school climate based on inclusivity and respect’.
- ‘They provide clear guidance to schools about how allegations of bullying should be investigated with a view to restoring good relationships between young people rather than with a view to punishing perpetrators. While it is easy to understand why the parents of a young person who has been bullied might wish to see the bully punished, the research tells us that the punishment approach is not an effective first response – though there may be cases where some form of disciplinary action is required.’
- ‘They make it very clear that bullying is a whole school responsibility and not just the responsibility of the principal or a small group of senior staff. All members of the school community (staff, students and parents) are required to work together to prevent, detect and address bullying in a calm and considered manner’.
- ‘They provide a clear oversight role for boards of management in relation to bullying – to lead the development of a school policy, to monitor its implementation by receiving regular reports from the Principal, and to undertake an annual review of the way the policy is being implemented.
- Also, where a parent is not satisfied that a school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with the procedures, having exhausted the school’s complaints procedures, s/he may make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children’