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Monday 25 September 2017

State dragging its heels -- Phoebe dad

Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

THE father of tragic teenager Phoebe Prince has condemned Education Minister Ruairi Quinn for failing to stick by his promise to introduce revised anti-bullying policies in schools by last month.

Jeremy Prince's 15-year-old daughter took her life in January 2010 after persistent bullying in America, where the family had moved.

Mr Prince now lives in Co Clare and is ambassador for the National Anti-Bullying Coalition, which was set up in March 2011.

He made an impassioned plea last November for the Government to introduce legislation to make schools introduce a new anti-bullying programme.

The campaign envisages that every school in the country will be accredited with a 'Safe School' flag or plaque which will be reviewed annually.

However, Mr Prince has condemned politicians for not doing enough to "free children from bullying".

"I'm asking the Government not just to stick by its promises it made, but also to rigorously follow the human rights issue of children which was agreed to in the European Convention on Human Rights," he said.

His daughter, a high school student at South Hadley, Massachusets, hanged herself in January 2010 after being bullied by her peers at school.

Five students were charged in connection with her death and sentenced to community service or probation.

Monica Monaghan from the National Anti-Bullying Coalition said Mr Quinn promised the group during a meeting last March -- which was also attended by Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald -- that there would be revised policies by September.

"I have worked closely with Labour to try to move things along in a peaceful way, but actually I'm not sure it's working because they're not moving fast enough."

The Department of Education said Mr Quinn was currently considering what changes were required.

Irish Independent

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