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School cards: 'Step Up, Be Safe, Be Proud'

Thu 3 Jul 2008 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Students will be given cards showing tips on how to protect themselves from bullies, in a new move by the Government to crack down on bullying in schools. Minister of Education Chris Carter A recent study showed 15% of secondary school pupils were often bullied and 9% were bullied at least weekly. A 2003 Otago University study suggested that 95% of New Zealand students believe their gay, lesbian and bisexual classmates feel unsafe in their own schools - and that homophobia and homophobic bullying can undermine gay teenagers' sense of self-worth and even lead to actual abuse. Education Minister Chris Carter announced today that students will be given resource cards with tips on how best to deal with bullies and how to protect themselves, The cards are called Step Up, Be Safe, Be Proud, and can also be used by teachers to help students discuss bullying, Carter suggested. The Education Review Office will also step up their pressure on schools to act on any claims of violence, and the Children's Commissioner has begun an investigation into violence and bullying in schools. Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro told the Dominion Post today that the effects of bullying are massive. "We've had cases at the most extreme where young victims have actually taken their own lives. "We need to know that if a child is being bullied, they're able to disclose that and that something effective is being done to keep them safe." The problem of homophobic bullying is also on the agenda in the UK today, as TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber will today call on the Government to include LGBT equality education in the school curriculum as the only way to address homophobic bullying in schools. "Whereas our schools and colleges have done much to counter racism and sexism, the same cannot be said when it comes to tackling homophobia," Barber will tell a conference in London this afternoon. "Despite some notable exceptions, too many educational establishments are breeding grounds for the worst kind of casual prejudice."    

Credit: GayNZ.com News Staff

First published: Thursday, 3rd July 2008 - 1:15pm

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