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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 November 2005, 15:57 GMT
Schools 'in denial' over bullying
Al Aynsley-Green
Al Aynsley-Green has said almost every child is affected by bullying
Almost every child is affected by bullying and is growing up in a society that sees violence as "the norm", the children's commissioner has said.

Professor Al Aynsley-Green argued that, despite good work in schools, there is still denial about the "existence, severity and effect" of bullying.

He told the Observer that violence had become the norm in the workplace, on television and in the home.

His comments came ahead of the start of Anti-Bullying Week on 21 November.

Denial

Professor Aynsley-Green, who is the children's commissioner for England, told the newspaper: "I have no doubt that children are being brought up in a society where violence is the norm in many ways.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Parents need to be educated about the implications of bullying
Neil Monk, UK

"I include in this the violence on television, in the workplace and in the home.

"I have had hundreds of in-depth conversations with children since accepting this post, and I can tell you that the one thing every child I have met has been affected by, with virtually no exceptions, is bullying."

He plans to use Anti-Bullying Week to ask the government to compel schools to give children a questionnaire on the issue every term.

'Pay tribute'

He said: "I want to pay tribute to much of the extremely good work going on in schools but, from what children are telling me, there is still a lot of denial about the existence, severity and the effect of bullying in schools.

"It is not going too far to say many schools and teachers are still in a state of denial about this issue.

Pupils
Some children are bullied at school

"There simply isn't enough genuine awareness of the problem in the minds of adults."

He also urged parents to "look in the mirror before castigating children for bullying behaviour".

He added: "Nobody will challenge an adult for bullying colleagues if they are successful in achieving their work targets, but the long-term pain for victims is incalculable.

"I want to see the treatment of bullying mainstreamed in schools so that by the time the children become adults they know how to cope with it and defeat it."

Professor Aynsley-Green's comments came just days after 15-year-old Natashia Jackman was stabbed in the head while at school in Camberley, Surrey.

And on Wednesday, 19-year-old Tommy Kimpton, of Penryn, Cornwall, was sentenced to two years in prison for killing a friend who had bullied him.

Appointed in July, the commissioner will report to Parliament every year on issues he believes need tackling.


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SEE ALSO:
Pupil, 15, attacked by girl gang
13 Nov 05 |  South West Wales
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Helpline calls on bullying rising
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09 Nov 05 |  Cornwall
Parents urging action on bullying
22 Nov 04 |  Education


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