Scheme to stamp out playground violence

The Dominion Post 03 July 2008

An escalation of physical violence and emotional bullying in schools has sparked a major investigation by the children’s commissioner amid increasing concerns about pupil safety. The move follows research showing violence toward New Zealand schoolchildren is high compared with other developed countries and that bullying is one of their biggest fears. Education Minister Chris Carter will today unveil his own anti-bullying package to make schools safer. It is in response to a spate of high-profile attacks on schoolchildren and an increase of alerts from teachers about violent and disruptive pupils.

The package will include resources written by pupils to encourage in-class discussions about bullying and changes to the way the Education Review Office assesses schools’ anti-bullying programmes. Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro said physical and emotional violence was a problem in all schools and an issue of public concern. It was consistently highlighted by children as one of their gravest fears and could have devastating emotional effects on young victims.