ACTION PLAN ON BULLYING A HUGELY POSITIVE STEP
Labour T.D., Gerald Nash, has welcomed the Action Plan on Bullying launched today by Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn.
“This Action Plan has been produced by the Anti Bullying Working group which was established in June of last year, following a very successful Anti-Bullying Forum, set up by Minister Quinn and Minister Fitzgerald, in response to a request from the National Anti-Bullying Coalition (NABC).
“I have worked closely with the NABC at a local and national level since its inception. I invited them to the Dáil and arranged for them to meet the Minister for Education, who readily agreed to their suggestion of an Anti-Bullying Forum. We are now seeing the fruits of that work. The first step in tackling any problem is to acknowledge it. This plan will require all schools to put in place a formal system for recording and reporting incidents of bullying. It is the first initiative in this area in 20 years and will be backed up with a ring fenced budget of €500,000.
“I have hosted the NABC in the Dail several times and in their presentations to members they have brought home to us the horrendous human cost of bullying. No one who has heard the first hand testimony of people like Jeremy Prince or Jonathan Pugsley, who lost their children to suicide, could be in any doubt about the need to strengthen the protection available to our children both in and out of school.
“This Action Plan will provide teachers and parents with additional training. There will be a media campaign focused on cyber bullying and a review of school inspections. This is a huge step in the right direction and I look forward to continuing my work with the Minister and organisations like the NABC, to further protect our children.”