Scotland’s new strategy for tackling bullying

Sticks and stones: Bullying can also happen outside of school, as well as online.

Can Scotland end bullying? Its schools will soon be forced to report bullying in more detail than before. At a time when some forms of bullying are on the rise, this could make a difference…

What’s happening

As of September, Scottish schools will use a new system to record and monitor incidents of bullying. The idea is that the country will have a better idea of how common bullying is across schools. “It’s every child’s right not to be bullied,” says Scotland’s Education Secretary John Swinney.

Find out more

We do not know exactly how often bullying happens, but it is widespread. According to a recent poll, 46% of parents in Scotland have seen bullying happen in their children’s schools.

In particular, prejudice-based bullying seems to be on the rise. This is when someone is picked on because of some part of their identity, such as their race, gender or sexuality.

Another new trend is cyberbullying, which happens via text or online. Cyberbullying can happen 24/7 and it is hard to prevent, especially if the bully hides their identity.

Bullying can seriously hurt the victim’s feelings, and even leave them with anxiety and depression. In England, the NHS is giving mental health care to almost 250,000 children.

Is Scotland’s new system the answer?

Some say…

Yes. Bullying continues to happen because people tend to ignore it. This system will force schools to be more open about the problem. Parents and teachers will get more involved; bullies and their victims will have chances to discuss their issues, and get counselling if they need it. The more people talk about bullying, the less it will happen.

Others think…

You can’t just talk someone out of bullying. We need to make sure bullies don’t get a bad attitude in the first place. For that, society must change. There should be less prejudice and more positive body images in the media. Parents should also encourage their kids to be empathetic. Bullies are responsible for their actions, but others are too.

You Decide

  1. Should schools have weekly anti-bullying lessons?

Activities

  1. What is bullying? Write a definition of the word, then share it with the class.

Some People Say...

“A lot of us have done bullying and didn’t even realise we did it.”

Dash Mihok

What do you think?

Word Watch

Monitor
Keep checking something over time.
Education Secretary
The politician in charge of the country’s approach to education.
Poll
By Connect and Respectme.
NHS
The National Health Service, the UK’s system of medical care.
Empathetic
“Empathy” is the ability to understand and share another person’s feelings.

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