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Tackling bullies in memory of Phoebe

A GROUP of Dublin schoolchildren have embarked on a campaign to highlight mobile phone bullying.

Around 140 young people are to take part in initiatives to reduce phone bullying, which experts say is now commonplace in many schools.

The project comes as a US university launches a scholarship in memory of tragic Irish girl Phoebe Prince (15), who committed suicide following months of bullying.

She was harassed by students at her Massachusetts school by phone and on internet sites. Six students from South Hadley High School are facing criminal charges in relation to her death.



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Now Irish children are highlighting the dangers of technology-based bullying.

The group from Kilbarrack are working on a mural for their local Dart Station that highlights how mobile phones can be used to bully.

Local Fianna Fail senator Martin Brady said: "I was delighted to hear these young people have a keen interest in tackling phone bullying.

"So many of our young people now are exposed to mobile phones, the internet and social networking sites. It's crucial the Government moves to tackle all forms of bullying but particularly cyber bullying."

The Herald has reported how cruel bullies are pushing dozens of Irish children to the verge of suicide.

The problem of schoolyard intimidation has become so bad that more than 400 parents complained directly to the Department of Education last year, even though there is no procedure for them to do so.

One group that counsels troubled teens claimed schools don't want "to touch the problem".

And a Dublin school principal said: "Children as young as eight are sending abusive texts and posting hurtful comments."

The problem became a massive talking point internationally after the death of Phoebe, who came from Co Clare.

A scholarship has now been set up at the University of California-Berkeley's School of Public Health. The fund will help graduate students who are studying mental and physical health promotion and disease prevention among teenagers.

Dean Stephen Shortell says he hopes that other individuals will "wish to do something in Phoebe's memory" by contributing to the fund.

The university said the scheme can help prevent similar types of tragedies from happening by supporting students who wish to focus their studies and careers on addressing issues around adolescent health, mental health, and violence.

kdoyle@herald.ie


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