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Should schools take more responsibility for bullying?

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 11:53:41 BST

Educations lawyers say schools are not taking enough responsibility for extreme bullying of young children. Is it time for a change in the law?

Head teachers are not being held accountable for violent and abusive pupils and anti-bullying guidelines should be strengthened, claim the Children's Legal Centre.

Schools are "too often trying to avoid responsibility" and parents are increasingly seeking legal advice, according to Mike Charles, an education lawyer.

But the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) said "hyper-accountability" already existed.

Should anti-bullying laws be strengthened in the UK? If so, what changes are needed to protect children? Should schools be held more accountable for bullying? Have you or your children experienced bullying in school?


The parents should take action and enrole their bullied child in a martial arts class, there are plenty of cheap ones about. The skill stays with you throughout your life and has saved mine several times.
Andrew Kadir-Buxton

"Since disciplinary methods have been significantly restricted the amount of bullying has risen and teachers have become increasingly reluctant to take action.
Do you need a PhD to work out the possible correlation between these facts?
fillandthrowpist always"

No but you need to be an idiot to think that causation is that straightforward.
[Ebon_bear], Stoke-On-Trent, United Kingdom

"Bring back corporal punishment in schools. That will stop bullies
SteveH A Realist, Westhoughton"

No, it won't. All it will lead to is the bullies taking out their punishment on their original victim. If the bully gets, say, 6 strokes of the cane, they'll just hit the victim that much more for getting them that punishment.

Treat bullying as the crime it is.
[Ebon_bear], Stoke-On-Trent, United Kingdom

If the school does nothing, it's the school's fault.

If the school gives the bully "time out", the bully beats up the victim for snitching, and again it's the school's fault.

If the school punishes the bully with physical discipline, the school is at fault for child abuse.

So the only option for the school is to pander to the bully and beg and bribe him/her into not bullying.

What a wonderful system!
[Corruptuser], United States

Those who say it is good to have bullying at school to build character would no doubt change their tune if it was their child was being bullied and on the verge of suicide.
For bullying to be tolerated in a school only shows the poor standard of the head and the teachers. They should be responsible for ensuring a environment for all to be able to learn. A bully not only disrupt's the learning of the bullied person but also the rest of the class who are distracted or intimidated.
Ex Labour Voter, Bishop Stortford

Surely it is the parents that should be dealing with this matter? If their children can not behave it is their responsibility. This should also apply to pregnant teenagers.
grania davy, farnham, Yemen

It happens, children will be childen - all this idealism about changing laws will do nothing - we need a change of attitude, a change of culture, and what is not PC, a change of spiritual direction - laws change change nothing - save perhaps the already full wallets of our Labour supporting legal fraternity - we need a cultural change of attitude and a desire that rights are secondary to obligations and that nation matters more than self - with a drive to expel all all those who are not for us.
Michael Hall, Chipping Norton, United Kingdom

Bullying can have severe consequences on the lives of children and needs to be addressed. Our country is far too soft on those who victimise others, there are no effective deterrents or punishments available resulting in a reluctance for those in authority to become involved - who can blame them? The middle class PC brigade have a lot to answer for, they must feel a fabulous sense of inner satisfaction at being such enlightened people in their cosy little moral bubbles while society falls apart.
Fiona, Glasgow

Respect for authority in my opinion has disappeared. Kids know how far they can go, they know that a teacher is restricted in what they can do, they don't care about what they say. Teachers are scared to deal with kids in case they are the ones who are accused of harassment or something and they don't want to endanger their career. Meanwhile, the minute a teacher does do something, the first thing parents to is go on the defensive about their child and blame the school. Respect is gone.

We have recently moved to France because we feel the school education system is better, and there is zero tolerance for indiscipline. Any issues relating to bad behaviour are relayed to the parents who are expected to deal with it. If there is any bullying, the bullies - and their parents - have to apologise to the victim and his/her parents in front of the whole school. It is made very clear that the role of the school is to educate, and it is the parents who are responsible for discipline.
edinemrba, Edinburgh

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