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Alan Grant reports
"Pupils had the chance to grill the education minister"
 real 56k

Monday, 26 February, 2001, 15:19 GMT
Minister's regrets over school bullies
Jack McConnell
Mr McConnell said he was aware of bullying
Scotland's education minister has expressed regret that he did nothing to stop bullying when he was a senior school pupil.

Jack McConnell told pupils at an Anti-Bullying Network conference that he was determined to rid classrooms of the bullying menace.

However, he recognised that he could have done more to stop harassment of pupils when he was at school and called on the current generation of pupils to help eradicate bullying.

David Bernard
David Bernard: Severely affected by bullying
Mr McConnell said he had not been bullied at school but he was aware of others who had.

He said: "The fact that none of us seemed to do very much about it when it was happening to them (other pupils) is something to be very much ashamed of.

"I don't mind admitting that now, 23 years on, and I hope that this generation of senior school pupils is a bit more responsible than mine was."

Mr McConnell was answering pupils' questions during the Anti-Bullying Network's National Anti-Bullying Conference for School Pupils in Dundee.

One 14-year-old boy from Edinburgh told the conference that the stress of bullying became so great that he temporarily lost his sight.

David Bernard said: "I took very ill because of the stress of the bullying.

"I actually was partially sighted and lost quite a lot of school time through it.

"I'm paying for that now, having to try really really hard to study for my exams at the moment."

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See also:

24 Jan 01 | Education
Pupils suffer bullying 'misery'
29 Aug 99 | Education
Primary school bullying 'on increase'
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