Welsh Schools Not Doingenough to Stop Bullying, Expert Says

Article excerpt

Byline: By ALED BLAKE Western Mail

A bullying expert has warned Welsh schools they are not tackling the problem at its root. Former deputy headteacher Eric Jones, who gives lectures and guidance for schools to deal with the issue, says helplines and counselling are not the answers in stopping bullying.

Mr Jones, who lives in Pont- henri near Carmarthen, called on schools to change their ethos in tackling the bullying problem, following revelations that Wales has a higher rate of teenage suicide than England.

The suicide rate among 11 to 17-year-olds in Wales is five times higher than in England, according to the latest official figures.

Last month, there were two apparent teenage suicides in Wales within days of each other.

Jonathan Mark Reynolds, 15, from Bridgend, is thought to have killed himself by lying under a train at Pencoed after bullying at school in Bridgend. Only three days before, Nathan Smith, 13, was found dead by his family at his home in Aberdulais.

Mr Jones, who has written a number of books on bullying in schools, said counselling and helplines are not enough and that school policy reform is essential.

'We can counsel kids and victims until we're blue in the face,' he said last night. 'But until we actually change the bully's behaviour nothing will change.

'Every time a new lot of primary school children go to a secondary school they have to be told what the ethos of the school is.'

There are a number of ways schools can purge themselves of bullies, according to Mr Jones.

'One thing you can do is burst the bully's anonymity, to call his bluff and tell on him. If only kids could learn the fact that telling is not a weakness, it's a strength.

'We have got to accept that bullying is not just someone punching another person in the face, it's anything that makes another pupil feel bad about themselves. …