Tackling bullying in schools

This week was anti-bullying week, so it was the subject of my column in the Ham & High:

No school should tolerate it. No bully should get away with it. No child should experience it. And yet we know it goes on day in and day out in our schools.

There were two sets of bullies in my class at secondary school. They terrorised their victims with threats and intimidation. They were ghastly girls and most of us, who were not the target, just kept clear. There was also bullying of the ‘exclusion’ variety – less obvious but just as diminishing for the victim who was left out of everything and made to feel ugly and unwanted.

Most schools now (unlike then) actually have bullying policies – and bullying is taken much more seriously now than then. But it’s still a problem we have to face up to and work against.

This week is anti-bullying week. To highlight this locally Haringey Youth Council are marching today: about 250 young people, ending the march at Spurs football ground with a series of events.

It is fantastic to have a youth organisation taking this on and taking direct action on such an important issue. Congratulations to them.

Bullying damages lives – it isn’t just about harming a child’s schoolwork. Whenever I listen to programs on bullying (sometimes the subject of a phone in on the radio) and I hear adults – sometimes in their sixties or seventies – talking about having been bullied at school, what strikes me is that the hurt has never really gone. They often cry as they talk about those long ago experiences. Those are the psychological hurts that can and do blight entire lives.

You can read the rest of the column on my website.