Christchurch Press 4 July 2008
New Government measures to combat bullying have been welcomed, but education leaders have warned that schools should not bear the full responsibility for reducing violence. The measures, launched by Education Minister Chris Carter yesterday, were prompted by a spate of high-profile bullying incidents. As part of the package, information cards called Step Up, Be Safe, designed by primary and secondary students, will be given to all students from Year 3 to help them recognise bullying and know what to do about it. Resources for schools would be available through the Education Ministry’s Supporting Positive Behaviours website and for parents through the Team Up website.
“These new initiatives are about ensuring that our schools are safer places for students,” Carter said. “I know that all parents want their children to be safe at school and not subject to bullying or harassment.” The way schools deal with bullying will also come under scrutiny from the Education Review Office (ERO). Schools will be asked if their anti-bullying programmes include a focus on racist or homophobic bullying, sexual harassment and bullying of students with special needs. The initiatives have been welcomed, but sector leaders have emphasised the importance of community and family involvement.