Sinn Féin spokesperson for Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD welcomed the attention being drawn to the serious issue of bullying on ‘International Day Against Bulling’.
Speaking today at the Oireachtas Education Committee, Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:
“Today is International Day Against Bullying. Bullying has a profound effect on so many children and their families. It is an issue that we see repeatedly in our constituency offices.
“It can be extremely traumatic for children to experience, and can have a huge impact on parents as well, who are visibly upset and grieving when severe bullying episodes occur.
“I feel lucky in that I was one of the last to get through the gap before social media and camera phones became hugely prevalent. When I was in school, and experienced any difficulties, at least going home there was respite.
“I have huge sympathy for children now who are going through similar issues, and who don’t have that respite, that bullying can follow them home through their smartphone or laptop.
“I also have huge sympathy for parents, who may not feel that they have the skills to deal with what is often a traumatising period for young people.
“It is clear that we must do more to tackle this issue. A whole school approach is needed, the culture within a school is crucially important. Many teachers may be very sympathetic, but may not always have the skills or training to tackle bullying when it rears its ugly head within a school.
“We must also acknowledge that much excellent work is being done in schools, but programmes such as FUSE supported by the Anti Bullying Centre at DCU need to be rolled out much wider, and we must ensure that anti-bullying training in teacher training colleges is up-to-date and being implemented.
“It is very welcomed that we have the opportunity today to recognise the issues, and to recognise the huge impact that bullying can have. Now, we must work to stop bullying, whether in the school, or online, or anywhere.”