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Schools don’t need to be bullied into action

Schools don’t need to be bullied into action

The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says the Prime Minister is misguided to think that schools alone can stop bullying, as the root cause often lies well beyond the classroom.

John Key is instructing the Education Minister to write to all schools reminding them of their responsibilities and demanding they review their anti-bullying policies.

“Schools take bullying very seriously and encourage a zero-tolerance approach. They don’t need to be bullied into action,” says NZEI President Ian Leckie.

“They are already very aware of their responsibilities in terms of providing a safe environment for all their students and their programmes and policies around bullying are checked by the Education Review Office.”

“The government is naive to think just writing letters to schools demanding they review their anti-bullying policies will make the problem go away. The causes of bullying are complex and often reflect wider social issues. Parents, whanau and the wider community have a huge role to play in identifying bullying and changing behaviours,” Mr Leckie adds.

The nature of schoolyard bullying has also changed with text messaging and social networking.

“It can be more insidious and sophisticated and can happen in a range of places and contexts. Schools can often be unaware it is going on but always aim to deal with what they are made aware of,” Mr Leckie says.

“The government needs to realise that the problem of bullying does not always rest at the school gate.”

ENDS

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