A whole school community approach needed to tackle bullying

Kildare South Fianna Fáil Senator Fiona O’Loughlin is calling for a whole school community approach between parents, students and school staff to tackle bullying both inside and outside of the classroom. The Senator made her calls at the Committee on Education, Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science’s meeting on School Bullying and the Impact on Mental Health.  

Senator O’Loughlin commented, “Bullying in schools is a very serious problem. We need to take a whole school community approach between parents, students and school staff, including what happens outside of school hours if there is a relationship between the bullying activity and the school.  

“We also need to talk about the role of the bystander, if someone is neutral in situations of injustice, they are choosing the side of the bully, and essentially give the bully permission to keep on bullying.” 

The Senator highlighted how a review of the Department of Education’s Anti-Bullying Procedures is needed to take account of bullying issues such as racism, homophobia, body image and cyberbullying.  

Senator O’Loughlin added, “Every school should have an independent therapist or counsellor available to students which would complement the Wellbeing Policy. It would afford extra supports to teachers who know they have somewhere to send their pupils who may be impacted by bereavement, separation, divorce, alcohol or addiction issues or domestic violence.   “Having an easily accessible therapeutic service would aid the whole school community to know they are doing their best for every child.”