Mother of targeted child urges schools to tackle cyber-bullying

A parent forced to take her son out of school for his own safety says cyber-bullying should be treated in the same way as if it happened in the school grounds.

Gerry and Liza Dalton’s 11-year-old son has not been in school since March because they believed he was at risk if he remained at a Co Meath school.

Ms Dalton said her son was enrolled in another school where he would complete his primary education.

The family were unable to find a tutor under the home tuition scheme they were approved for.

She said she did her best to home-school her son and is hoping that he will settle quickly in his new school.

Research has shown that almost one in four school-going children are at risk of being bullied, and the risk is substantially increased with the use of mobile phones and social media sites.

Ms Dalton opened a Facebook page called ‘Meath Against Bullies’ and over the last few weeks, it has been inundated by parents looking for advice on bullying.

“There are children who have had to deal with relentless mobile and internet bullying during the school holidays.

“The children are absolutely terrified about starting school and it is just heartbreaking to hear their stories.”

Ms Dalton said parents, who had commended her for taking action, were too scared to confront their school for fear of being ostracised.

“It’s a vicious cycle at the moment, it really is. My child is scared about starting school again. He went to hell and back as I did with him.”

Founder and director of the anti-bullying centre in Trinity College Dublin, Mona O’Moore, said there should be zero tolerance of bullying in schools. “Often there are victims whose coping skills are absolutely perfect but they can’t get out a situation where there is a group intent on making their lives miserable. Schools can still take action in those cases. They can stipulate the consequences for that kind of behaviour if they have proof of it.”

Bully4u, which provides anti-bullying services for schools, has launched a new campaign that focuses on the increasing risk of cyber-bullying.

Bully4u founder Jim Harding said children would not tell their parents that they were being cyber-bullied out of fear that their mobile phone and internet access would be taken from them.

News: Mother of targeted child urges schools to tackle cyber-bullying

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