Speaking from her own experience as former chair of the Home Education Network Ireland and a homeschooling mother Senator Pauline O’Reilly noted that at least half of students who left school to be home educated left due to extreme bullying and other traumatic experiences. O’Reilly went on to ask how the school system could better support those who are being bullied to stay in school. “a more creative approach, one based on empathy could be examined”. She also said that other countries are looking at the possibility of mixed age classes.
She went on to add, in relation to cyber bullying, that as adults most of us have witnessed it as bystanders and not know how to deal with it. Learning to deal with this type of bullying at a younger age can make us better able to deal with it later on in life.
Some of the suggestions from Dr. Coleman Noctor, Board Member, Mental Health Ireland was a mentorship programme with older children acting as mentors for younger children. He went on to add that we need to think creatively as what we are doing now is simply not working. Dr. Nortor went on to add that “some children have thrived in lockdown because they have been spared that level of persecution and the thoughts of returning to that has been really difficult”
The Joint Committee on Education, Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science met this afternoon to discuss School Bullying and the Impact on Mental Health.
This was a roundtable discussion with Psychologists/experts in child and youth mental health, and is the first of a series of committee meetings which will see relevant stakeholders with expertise come before the committee in the coming weeks.
Video Link: https://youtu.be/5JcTdiyIUhU