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Dáil to debate Bill on mandatory bullying code for schools

Sinn Féin has tabled legislation which will require school boards to adopt mandatory counter-bullying measures.

Photo posed by model.
Photo posed by model.
Image: Lesley Rigg via Shutterstock

TDS WILL VOTE next week on approving legislation which will make it a legal requirement for the boards of management of Irish schools to adopt measures to counter and prevent bullying.

Sinn Féin’s education spokesman Jonathan O’Brien has tabled legislation which will require teachers or other school officials to inform their board of management of any suspected bullying within one working day of first discovering it.

The school board will then be required to meet within three days to discuss the report, and to write to the parents or guardians of each child involved to outline the circumstances and a proposed sanction.

This mandatory process can also be triggered by a child reporting a case of bullying against themselves or another pupil, or by a parent or guardian of one of the children involved.

The proposed rules are intended to give parents an assurance that any suspected bullying case will be discussed by the school’s uppermost managers within four working days of a report being made.

The Education (Welfare) (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2012, which will be debated on Tuesday and Wednesday evening before a vote on Wednesday at 9pm, also proposes to create a legal definition of ‘bullying’, as follows:

[B]ullying behaviour means repeated, intentional aggression, verbal, psychological or physical, including by electronic forms of contact, conducted by an individual or group against others, against someone who is not able to defend himself or herself in that situation.

Read: TD says social media bullying has contributed to deaths

Explainer: How does a Bill become a law?

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Gavan Reilly

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