A NEW report aimed at tackling bullying in schools has been launched.
Children’s Ombudsman Emily Logan was at the Learning Hub in Kileely to present the report - Dealing with Bullying in Schools - which carries a number of recommendations around prevention and intervention.
It has been put together with the help of 300 children from across the country - including 12 boys from an unidentified city primary school.
Recommendations include the need to respect diversity, the prevention and intervention of bullying incidents, and the need to put a dedicated policy of support and encouragement to enable the victim to speak up.
An annual assembly on the potentially lethal dangers of bullying should also be held by principals, a group the report identifies as key in the fight against it.
Ms Logan believes bullying needs to be made a public health issue, and wants to see the Departments of Education and Health working together.
“We talk a lot about child and adolescent mental health services working together on behalf of children. Our consultation with children indicated that they see principals as really critical for supporting them in relation to bullying. We want schools to reach out to their communities, in particular parents, to find solutions to this really serious problems,” she said.
The report comes just days after the tragic suicide of Donegal girl Erin Gallagher, who was allegedly a victim of cyberbullying through the web site ask.fm.
But Ms Logan rejected calls to block the web site: “If this is blocked in Ireland, you will find another web site will develop. This is a complex issue and requires a broader response. Often children do not understand cyberbullying, so you have to explain what it is, and how to react if someone misbehaves online,” she explained.
Other recommendations include a trusted teacher being asked to mediate between a bully and victim in order to solve differences.