Parents are to receive special training as part of a crackdown on bullying, it has emerged.
Adults will be expected to teach children about the problem behaviour after attending courses paid for by the education department.
A total of €40,000 are earmarked to deliver sessions for parents by the end of the year. The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) estimates up to 40 per cent of nine-year-olds have been victimised.
Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn said: “Bullying is not a problem schools can or should be left to tackle alone. Parents, families and the wider community have an important role to play in tackling all forms of bullying and in teaching children how to manage relationships, be resilient and have empathy for others.”
The minister said the anti-bullying parent training programme will be available nationwide. It will be a two-and-a-half hour session that helps parents support their children with issues of bullying and informs them about new anti-bullying procedures for primary and secondary schools.
Aine Lynch, chief executive of the National Parents Council Primary, said: “Parents play a key role in supporting their children and the local school and this investment in parents will allow them to fulfil that role in a more informed way.
“We urge all parents in primary and post-primary schools to attend the training and support their children and schools in tackling bullying behaviours.”
The INTO has called for cyber, homophobic and racist bullying to be universally recognised. It also recommended planning new playgrounds to allow more effective supervision.