RACIST BULLYING OF school children is a serious problem that not being tackled by teachers and other authorities, according to a group representing migrants in Ireland.
Children from “visible minority” groups are bullied more than their peers, facing racist slurs as well as physical violence, the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) has said.
The group warned that the problem is not being addressed, due to a misplaced belief that “bullying happens to all children”. However, this has been disputed by teachers’ groups.
Some young migrant children have been advised to develop a “thicker skin” when they reported racist incidents, according to an Immigrant Council submission to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
One of the greatest barriers to tackling racial bullying is the reluctance of adults and authorities to acknowledge its existence and prevalence, as there remains an opinion that bullying happens to all children.
The document adds:
Not only is racial bullying not being tackled, but there is a risk of developing a culture of victim blaming in which reports of racial bullying fall on deaf ears.
ICI information coordinator Brian Killoran said the education system has not kept up with changes in Irish society. One in seven children in Ireland now come from a migrant background, he added.
The Irish National Teachers Organisation has disputed the assertion that teachers are not doing enough to tackle racist bullying. In a statement to TheJournal.ie, a spokesperson said thousands of teacher hours were spent every year dealing with bullying issues, and racist bullying was not overlooked. The statement said:
Teachers have long rejected the concept that bullying happens to all children and have been in the frontline when it comes to dealing with these changes.
INTO also rejected any suggestion that the education system was failing to keep pace with social changes.