As the second national anti-bullying week got underway today, a national learning difficulty charity claimed children with learning difficulties are easy targets for bullies and that more needs to be done to protect them.
Mencap said children with a learning difficulty were bullied wherever they went. It also called for those working in children’s services to be more vigilant about the signs of bullying for this group of children, and has published a booklet giving advice to parents and staff who work with children with learning difficulties.
“The current culture of bullying is totally abhorrent,” said Jo Williams, Mencap’s chief executive. “Regrettably, the most vulnerable are often the most likely victims. We must ensure that children with a learning disability, the most vulnerable of all because they are seen as different, are not bullied and that if they are, they do not suffer in silence,” she added.
Meanwhile, the schools minister Jacqui Smith underlined the government’s determination to tackle bullying, and pointed to its proposals to give teachers a legal right to discipline pupils, and to force parents to take responsibility for their children’s behaviour.
“Bullying should never be tolerated in our schools, no matter what its motivation,” she said. The government would be sending a “strong message” to parents that schools will not tolerate a failure to taking responsibility for bullying behaviour, she added.
It will also be encouraging pupils to lobby their schools to encourage them to adopt the Department for Education and Skills’ anti-bullying Charter for Action which gives schools practical help to stamp out bullying.
They Won’t Believe Me, from www.mencap.org.uk