New initiative aims to tackle bullying
A new international evidence-based anti-bullying programme was launched by the Genesis Programme who are supporting its implementation in eight schools across Louth and Monaghan.
The programme is in response to what parents see as the biggest concern they have for their children.
The KiVa Anti-Bullying Programme is an innovative school-based anti-bullying programme, targeted at children from 1st to 6th Class in Primary Schools, which has been developed at the University of Turku in Finland using cutting-edge research on bullying and its mechanisms.
New research from the eight schools showed that 23% of students have reported being bullied 2 or 3 times a month or more often.
The launch took place at the Crowne Plaza in Dundalk where children were very much to the fore as part of the celebrations to mark Universal Children's Day.
Also at the event there were contributions from Professor James O'Higgins Norman, Director of the National Anti-Bullying Centre at DCU & the UNESCO Chair on Tackling Bullying in Schools and Cyberspace, Mari Kontio from the programme developers at the University of Turku in Finland as well as staff and children from the participating schools.
To mark Universal Children's Day there was music, song and dance from the students of a number of the participating schools.
The initial implementation of the KiVa Anti-Bullying Programme is taking place in eight schools but will be expanded to more schools in the academic year 2019/2020.
As part of the introduction of the programme 1,674 students completed an online survey in May and June 2018 from the eight schools to generate information on the schools' current environment - to record the amount of bullying taking place, how the students perceive the school and how it is dealing with bullying.
These surveys were completed by students from 1st to 6th Class inclusive in each school, and revealed that 23% of students reported they had been bullied two or three times a month or more often; 9% of students reported they had bullied other students two or three times a month or more often; and 6% of students in 4th to 6th Class reported that they had been bullied through the internet (cyberbullying) two or three times a month or more often
The survey also indicated that students' perception of their teacher's attitudes towards bullying was very good with students' on average scoring their teachers 3.5 out of 4.
However, students' experience of how much their teacher has done to decrease bullying was lower with students' scoring their teachers on average only 2.3 out of 4
Again, students' perception of their parent's attitudes towards bullying was very good with students' on average scoring their parents 3.6 out of 4
Students' perception of being accepted in their class/school was high with students' on average scoring 3.4 out of four.