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IGC response to Action plan on Bullying
The Action plan on Bullying launched yesterday, welcome as it may be, will do nothing to address the problem without providing the necessary resources to deal with the serious issues, identified in the plan.
The Institute of Guidance Counsellors in its submission to the anti-bullying forum stressed that bullying is a community wide problem and will not be seriously tackled without a community wide approach to the problem.
Schools can and do take the problems of bullying seriously but as bullying is part of a wider societal problem it can only be addressed when business, community groups, voluntary organisations, sporting organisations as well as the wider school community address the issue collectively in a co-ordinated manner.
It is ironic that one of the key resources in schools, guidance counsellors, who daily deal with both the perpetrator and victim of bullying, has had their one to one time for dealing with such issues reduced by over 50%.
Schools have been strapped of resources to implement a whole school approach to the problem and frequently the critical early intervention by designated staff cannot now take place.
The real losers are the young people who, as research suggests, need a significant adult in their lives to deal with bullying and other mental health issues. Frequently, that significant adult has been the guidance counsellor, who because of increased subject teaching and timetabled class duties is not now available when needed by vulnerable students.
The members of the Institute, working in schools are most anxious to assist those students in greatest need if the Minister revisits the allocation which has deprived so many young of the support and care they urgently need.
End of statement
Gerry Flynn President IGC 087-9958606
Elizabeth Tynan Vice-President IGC 087-6755802
Betty McLaughlin PRO IGC 087-9964900