Anti-bullying ads to feature in school books
on 20/08/2013 00:00:00
The scheme is a joint initiative by the Department of Education and the Irish Educational Publishers' Association (IEPA).
Designed by the department, the adverts will be placed in mainstream schoolbooks.
Figures show that 31% of primary school students and 16% of secondary school students experience bullying which affects in the region of over 200,000 children.
The IEPA plans to place the adverts in up to 1,000 primary and post primary publications, both print and digital, reaching up to 830,000 pupils on a daily basis.
PRO of the National Parents Council, Jackie O'Callaghan, described the measure as a "huge step forward".
"We have lobbied in the past to have the phone numbers of organisations like the Samaritans placed in the diaries of school- children.
"It is a case of 'too little, too late' for some pupils but it is a step in the right direction. At least if a child has an issue in the future they have access to it on schoolbooks - as opposed to going to get the number from a notice board. No one sees them so I think it is a positive development."
Mark Caffrey, president of the Irish Second-level Students' Union, said the initiative is "a very good idea".
"It's great that the publisher is taking an interest in the welfare of pupils. Book rental schemes these days ensures, in four or five years, the books are still being distributed and I think it'll be important to renew and keep the adverts current.
"There will be a number of students who will go online to get their information but I think, when you physically give something to students, they have to look at it and they always have it with them.
"Ideally, the adverts and contacts will be available on the physical paperbacks and online."
Department campaigns with IEPA-member school books include anti-cyberbullying, standing up to homophobic bullying, and taking care of wellbeing in school.
Cliodhna O'Donoghue, general secretary of the IEPA, said that the organisation was delighted the anti-bullying messages would be presented "consistently, authoritatively, and sensitively in a reader-friendly way".