Does your school have a anti-bullying strategy?

HOW does your child’s school work to curb and deal with bullying?

Last year, we saw an escalation in the number and severity of bullying incidents in South African schools. This calls for urgent and sustained intervention, an education expert has warned.

As the new school year kicks off, classmates are making new friends and sussing out alliances, a natural part of human interaction. But rejection and conflict are further natural aspects of socialisation, and it’s crucial that we equip our children with the emotional intelligence to cope with these often scary situations.

Teachers should also be finely attuned to the social undercurrents in class and on the playground, so they can nip negative behaviour in the bud. More importantly, the school education system needs a proper plan in place.

“Almost every week we hear of another desperate learner or parent having to deal with the physical and emotional trauma of bullying, yet society and authorities’ responses continue to be reactive and unsuccessful in addressing the bigger issue,” says education expert Dr Gillian Mooney, Teaching and Learning Manager at The Independent Institute of Education.

“These cases making it into the media represent only a fraction of the mistreatment many children go through. But the devastating consequences of bullying are leaving a lasting mark on the lives of countless youngsters, and the problem will continue growing unless an effective strategy is developed and consistently enforced,” she says.

Bullying is centrally about trying to gain power, says Mooney, which means that a rise in bullying can be expected in societies where citizens feel disempowered.

Does your school have an effective anti-bullying plan in place? Send your suggestions to chatback@parent24.com for possible publication.

- Parent 24

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