Dealing with Bullying in Schools
The issue of bullying is raised regularly with the OCO by parents, professionals and children and young people. In light of concerns brought to our attention and in accordance with the OCO’s obligations to consult children and young people and highlight issues relating to their rights and welfare that are of concern to children and young people themselves, we consulted over 300 children and young people about the issue of bullying as it arises in schools.
Our consultation focused on solutions: participating children and young people were supported to identify approaches and actions, which they felt could contribute to dealing effectively with bullying in schools.
As the OCO’s report on this consultation highlights, the viewpoints shared by children and young people suggest that work with and by schools in this area could benefit from a two-strand approach involving prevention and intervention strategies. In this regard, children and young people placed a strong emphasis on preventive measures, in particular on initiatives that raise awareness of bullying and on actions and programmes that promote respect for diversity.
In this and other areas, children and young people consistently stressed that, in addition to principals, parents, teachers and non-teaching staff in schools as well as other professionals who can support schools’ efforts to tackle bullying, students themselves should be facilitated to actively participate in measures to deal with bullying. As the OCO’s report illustrates, they had a range of ideas about how children and young people can be supported to take an appropriate share of responsibility for addressing the issue of bullying.
In addition to highlighting children and young people’s views and ideas, the report also sets out the OCO’s recommendations for actions that can strengthen work with and by schools to combat bullying.
Published in 2012, the OCO’s report on Dealing with Bullying in Schools informed the Action Plan on Bullying and the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools published by the Department of Education and Skills in 2013.
We also sent our report to schools throughout the country so that they could use it as a resource in their work to deal with the issue of bullying at school level.