‘It’s not cool to be cruel’ – MSPs bid to tackle ‘too prevalent’ bullying

06.07.2017

Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee is setting out a series of measures it wants the Scottish Government to adopt to tackle prejudice-based bullying in Scottish schools.POSED BY MODEL a child sits alone on a fence in an urban setting.

The Committee’s aspirational report aims to tackle bullying in Scottish schools through changing attitudes and behaviour amongst young people and teaching staff.

Ultimately, the Committee wants young people to understand the consequences of bullying behaviour, to feel able to challenge bullying and to be supported by teachers and adults as necessary.

Equalities and Human Rights Committee Convener, Christina McKelvie MSP, said:

“Over the last eight months, our Committee has been listening to the voices of our children and young people, and their advocates.

“We heard some gut-wrenching and heartbreaking stories. One stark reminder of the reality faced by far too many bullied young people is that 27% of LGBT children have attempted suicide.

“But we have also heard of some inspiring and great practice going on around Scotland – and there are schools where bullying is now seen as not cool. We are trying to bottle that attitude change and roll it out across the whole country.”

Key findings of the report include:

  • For all teachers to get the right training in tackling prejudice-based bullying
  • For all schools to have an inclusive culture
  • For education on consent, healthy relationships and human rights to start from the earliest age possible, and to continue throughout school.

The Committee is also calling for strong data to measure the progress of the refreshed strategy, and wants mandatory recording of bullying incidents so progress can be tracked.

In November 2016, the Committee asked the Scottish Government to pause the roll out of its refreshed anti-bullying strategy after hearing concerns from groups representing young people with a protected characteristic. This request was agreed, and the refreshed strategy, Respect for All, is expected to be published in due course.

Background

More information on the inquiry is available on the Committee website: http://parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/104104.aspx

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