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Bullying: We need change in schools

Bullying: We need change in schools

The death of bullied and beaten up school boy Toran Henry, 17, raises public demand for real and proactive change in our school environments.

The people who work with young people say this case is not an isolated incident.

According to the Youth 2000 survey of 10,000 secondary school students, 1 in 3 students are bullied at least once during the school year. Three percent of all students have even stayed away from school, at least once in a month, because they were afraid of being bullied.

New Zealand Aotearoa Adolescent Health and Development (NZAAHD) executive officer Sarah Helm says that the issue of bullying in schools is not new, but needs to be dealt with now.

"There have been a number of groups that have been calling for systemic change in schools for a long time now, but they have been disregarded."

"Young people are at school under the obligation of the state - which requires them to attend until they are 16, and soon 18. It is therefore the government and schools' role to ensure adequate steps are taken to ensure their safety."

"Mechanisms have to be put into place, in order to effectively deal with bullying. Counselling, mediators, harrassment contacts, and clear protections for the victims - as have existed at universities for many years - have to be put in place at schools, too." she argues.

"Everyone needs to pay more attention to victims, perpetrators and their issues, in order to proactively reduce bullying."

"Optimum results will be achieved, when schools, students, parents and support organisations work closely together within a clear framework that addresses bullying in schools." she says.

ENDS

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