Cyber bullying in Angus schools not to be tolerated

NEW FIGURES from Angus Council have revealed that 32 cases of cyber bullying took place in the local authority’s schools in the year 2009/10.

Twenty-two of the incidents occurred in secondary schools, while another 10 took place in the county’s primary schools.

The reports of incidents for the current school term are still being collected.

Arbroath councillor Bob Spink said: “Any type of bullying is unacceptable it should not happen and I am sure that the schools are taking the right action.

“If it’s 32 cases of cyber bullying being reported then that is 32 cases too many. Bullying should not be tolerated”

An Angus Council spokesman said: “Angus Council has a zero tolerance policy towards all bullying behaviour in its schools, providing clear guidance and advice to schools on dealing with bullying incidents.

“All of our schools are required to involve and consult the school community in order to devise, publicise and implement their own school anti-bullying policy.

“We have ongoing staff development opportunities on themes around bullying and cyber bullying is a key element of this work.

“If cyber bullying is reported the matters are investigated, resolved and individuals are supported. We treat all bullying very seriously.”

Family Lives is a charity that helps parents deal with changes that are part of family life and have called for stronger partnership between parents, pupils and teachers to tackle cyber bullying.

This follows a survey carried out by the charity’s website Bullying UK which found that 43.5 per cent of respondents aged between 11 and 16 had been bullied via social networks such as Facebook, Bebo, Myspace and Twitter.

Some 51 per cent felt that blocking the bully from further contact or communication was a vital tool and a further 68 per cent felt that being able to report the perpetrator’s bullying activities would be advantageous.

Family Live’s chief executive Jeremy Todd said: “Cyber bullying is a great concern to families and parents of bullied children often find the situation traumatic and difficult to manage.

“Cyber bullying platforms ensure that children who are bullied have no respite as online and other social media permeates the school and home environment.

“Some families may find it difficult to report cyber bullying to the school concerned and parents should contact Family Lives or visit if they need support”

The National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers are aware of the consequences that cyber bullying can have on teachers’ health, well-being, confidence and self-esteem.