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Campaign aims to stop bullying on way to school

16-11-2009

Irish News

A new television ad campaign produced with the help of young people will be aired from today to mark the start of this year’s Anti-Bullying Week.

The adverts, based on the theme ‘Travelling to and from school – free from bullying’ will run until Friday.

The campaign is being driven by the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF).

Anti-Bullying Week, now in its fifth year, provides an opportunity for schools to reinforce their anti-bullying policy and practices to teachers, ancillary staff, children and parents.

Children’s and young people’s participation is especially critical in ensuring anti-bullying strategies are effective.

Almost 700 primary, post-primary and special schools across Northern Ireland are marking the week with a range of events and initiatives.

Poster displays, themed assemblies, lesson activities and circle time exercises are among the activities taking place to engage pupils in understanding their role and responsibility in tackling bullying.

Lee Kane, NIABF regional anti-bullying coordinator, said many young people travel to and from school each day in a variety of ways, and unfortunately some experience bullying during these journeys.

“This is not acceptable. Bullying can have serious consequences for children, leading to academic underachievement, physical and emotional distress, loss of self-esteem, eating disorders and truancy,” he said.

“NIABF worked with a group of young people from one of its member groups, National Children’s Bureau, to produce a series of television adverts to be screened during Anti-Bullying Week.

“Not only did the young people come up with the ideas and scripts for the adverts but they also acted in them.”

To ensure the message reaches as many young people as possible, a leaflet has also been designed offering top anti-bullying tips for young people when travelling to and from school, which is available to download at www.endbullying.org.uk.

“We hope that schools, agencies, transport providers, communities and parents will use the week as a stimulus to work together on a long term basis to deal with this problem,” Mr Kane said.

Translink will spread anti-bullying messages to the public through poster displays at train and bus stations across the north.

Translink safety manager William Patton said it was every child’s right to enjoy a safe and comfortable journey to and from school.

“As the leading provider of school transport in Northern Ireland we want to ensure all our younger passengers have a positive experience,” he said.

“This will have the added benefit long term of encouraging young people to continue using the bus and train into the future by making more sustainable travel options part of their lifestyle.

“By joining forces with NIABF we hope to deliver a strong message that anti-social behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

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