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Saturday, 27 January, 2001, 10:16 GMT
Bullying 'openness' call
Boy lying on the ground
Bullying is a widespread problem
Bullying in Scotland's schools must be brought out from the shadows if it is to be tackled effectively, a conference for parents will be told on Saturday.

The Anti-Bullying Network national conference in Hamilton will be told that children must be encouraged to be more open about the problem.

Educationalists, teachers, parents and pupils from across the country are scheduled to take part in the event at South Lanarkshire Council's offices in Hamilton.

Dr Julie Allan of the Institute of Education at the University of Stirling will make the keynote address.

Poster
Parents, pupils and teachers are being encouraged to work together
Also speaking will be Dr Brendan Byrne, from Dublin, who believes fear and shame are the main things that prevent children confiding in their parents.

He said: "Children fear that any approach to the school by their parents will make the situation worse and they have a deep-seated fear of being seen as a 'rat' by their peers.

"The shame the victim feels is related to the belief that he or she must have done something to deserve this harassment."

Commenting on hundreds of calls received by the anti-bullying network, manager Andrew Mellor said: "Bullying can build barriers in families.

"We have heard from mothers and fathers whose marriages have dissolved because of disagreements about how it should be tackled.

'Ill-considered advice'

"And we have heard from parents whose relationships with their children have been permanently soured because of well-meant but ill-considered advice.

"One father told his builled son to 'just hit them back' because that worked for him when he was a child.

"The boy took the advice but it got him into serious trouble with teachers."

Mr Mellor said that whatever actions the parents take, they should discuss them fully with the child first.

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See also:

10 Dec 99 | Scotland
Website tackles bullying problem
29 Aug 99 | Education
Primary school bullying 'on increase'
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