Minister Foley Launches New Anti-Bullying Initiatives for Irish Schools

In a significant stride towards combating bullying in Irish schools, Minister for Education Norma Foley has unveiled a series of initiatives under the Department of Education’s Cineáltas: Action Plan on Bullying, set to begin from September 2024.

The announcement includes the introduction of new anti-bullying modules across primary and post-primary schools, developed by the Anti-Bullying Centre at Dublin City University (DCU). These modules expand on the FUSE programme, which has been actively addressing bullying issues such as bystander intervention, cyberbullying, and online conflict management since 2023.

One notable addition is a resource aimed at assisting first-year students in their transition from primary to post-primary education, covering critical topics such as navigating new environments, technologies, and relationships.

Minister Foley expressed her commitment to eradicating bullying, stating, “Bullying can rob children and young people of happiness and cause lifelong damage. We are dedicated to preventing this scourge in all its forms.”

Professor James O’Higgins Norman, UNESCO Chair on Bullying at DCU, highlighted the research-backed nature of the FUSE program, designed to empower teachers, parents, and students to recognize, respond to, and report bullying behaviour effectively. “FUSE is a research-based anti-bullying programme developed specifically for Irish schools at DCU Anti-Bullying Centre. It is designed to support teachers, parents and students to recognise, respond and report bullying behaviour in person or online” said Prof. Norman.

Additionally, Minister Foley announced the inaugural Cineáltas showcase and awards event to be held on September 25, 2024. The event will celebrate the efforts of school communities in fostering environments of equality, inclusion, diversity, and well-being. It will also feature an awards ceremony to honour those who have significantly contributed to these causes within their schools.

Schools from across the country will be randomly selected to participate in this showcase, demonstrating their achievements and the impact of the Cineáltas initiatives within their communities. Nominations for the awards will open in May, inviting schools to recognize individuals or groups who have made outstanding contributions to anti-bullying efforts.

The Cineáltas plan also includes updating anti-bullying procedures and developing a national database for anonymous data collection on bullying, which will support ongoing research and the improvement of anti-bullying programs.

These comprehensive measures affirm the government’s resolve to ensure that Irish schools are safe and supportive environments where all students can thrive.

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