Posters creating awareness of bullying will be put on display in Secondary Schools while students also will be encouraged to wear wristbands bearing anti-bulling messages. Meanwhile, the Comhairle will host an Anti-Bullying Awareness Night in Limerick on 28th June, details of which have yet to be finalised.
Bullying in Ireland, like elsewhere throughout the world, is a problem that affects the lives of thousands of school children and their families. Recent research shows 74% of school children have reported being bullied in the playground or classroom. Incidents of bullying are reported to have increased by 12% in 2011.
Josephine Cotter Coughlan, Director of Services with Limerick County Council said the aim of Anti-Bullying Week is to raise awareness of the bullying of children and young people, in schools and elsewhere, and to highlight ways of preventing and responding to it.
“The emotional effects of bullying on victims can include humiliation, fear, social isolation and a loss of self esteem. The 33 members of County Limerick Comhairle na nÓg are committed to playing their part in reducing bullying and raising awareness of the impact it can have on students. I wish to compliment the Comhairle on the fantastic job it is doing representing young people in County Limerick,” Ms. Cotter Coughlan added.
According to Mr. Joe Walsh of the Limerick Youth Service: “Each year the newly elected Comhairle chooses a topic of relevance to young people to work upon based upon the findings of the AGM, of which more than 80 students from across Limerick usually attend. This year Comhairle members have chosen the topic of young people’s mental health and in particular, bullying as a key issue facing young people in Limerick.”
Mr. Joe Walsh continued: “Posters designed by the Comhairle members and containing stark anti-bullying messages will be put up in secondary schools Limerick during the week. Comhairle members have also designed and produced wristbands promoting anti-bullying messages. Both the posters and wristbands will be on sale in a number of secondary schools in Limerick from May 18th to May 25th.”
The County Limerick Comhairle na nÓg, which provides a forum for children and young people to discuss local and national issues of relevance to them, was first established in 2004 under the auspices of the Limerick County Development Board. The group is elected by their peers at the Comhairle na nÓg AGM every year, with students from across the secondary school spectrum of County Limerick being represented. The 2011-12 Comhairle comprises 33 youths.