Government committed to tackling bullying

The government is committed to tackling bullying in schools, said education minister Jacqui Smith today at the start of the second annual anti-bullying week.

Parents of bullies could be taken to court and face fines of £1,000 or ordered to attend parenting classes, under new measures in the education white paper.

The government-funded Anti-Bullying Alliance of over 65 charities and experts provides schools with expert help. It champions practical suggestions such as anonymous bully boxes to report bullying or peer support programmes.

Pupils are being encouraged to lobby their school to adopt the government’s anti-bullying charter for action.

 “Bullying should never be tolerated in our schools, no matter what its motivation. Children must know what is right and what is wrong, and that there will be consequences for crossing the line,” said Smith.

 “Of course, children can often be in the best position to tackle bullying, by supporting and standing by their friends. And this week we will be encouraging children and young people to work together to tackle bullying,” she added.

At the same time it emerged that two out of three teenage girls have admitted being bullies, in a poll of 1,000 young women by the NSPCC and Sugar magazine. Over 90 per cent of teenagers questioned also said they were bullied themselves.

Children’s commissioner Al Aynsley-Green has identified bullying as a huge problem and has blamed an increasingly violent society. Recent cases of teenagers attacked in school by fellow pupils have attracted extensive publicity.

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