School-related violence is a “serious infringement” of the right to education, as well as young peoples’ basic rights to health and wellbeing, according to President Michael D Higgins.
Speaking at a virtual event to mark the first ever international day against violence and bullying in schools yesterday (5th November), President Higgins called on everyone to play their part in ending child and youth violence.
A new report from the United Nations’ education and science organisation UNESCO found that one-in-three students had been bullied by their school peers at least once in the last month. The alarming report also says children who are bullied are nearly three times more likely to feel like an outsider at school, and more than twice as likely to miss school.
The international day against violence and bullying in schools was launched by UNESCO to raise awareness around the issue, and encourage swift action to stop the growing problem.
Speaking at an event hosted by the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre at Dublin City University, President Higgins called for strong leadership and public support to tackle bullying.
“It requires collaboration between all those involved. It will depend on the community, better teacher training, and improved school environments that will promote tolerance, inclusivity and equality.
“What is most important is acknowledging that we must address all the root causes of violence and promote a culture of respect for students’ rights and of zero tolerance to bullying and violence,” he said.
UNESCO says school bullying is an impediment to children’s and adolescents’ rights to education. And its research identified cyber-bullying as a growing cause for concern as children spend increasing amounts of time online.
It also says violence is perpetrated by teachers and other school staff in some cases. Corporal punishment is still allowed in schools in 67 countries.
It found that children who are bullied tend to have worse educational outcomes than their peers, and are more likely to leave formal education after finishing secondary school.
HEAR AND READ the President’s full speech HERE.