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O’Dowd Launches Anti-Bullying Week - ‘Everybody is Somebody’

Education Minister, John O’Dowd, today launched anti-bullying week – ‘Everybody is Somebody’ – focusing on tackling bullying motivated by difference and prejudice.
Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Anti-bullying week is co-ordinated each year by the NI Anti-Bullying Forum and this year the Forum organised a competition to highlight the issue of bullying. Children and young people were encouraged to submit art or creative writing entries using the theme of bullying based on difference, under the title ‘Everybody is Somebody’.

Speaking at the awards ceremony today at Titanic Belfast, Minister O’Dowd congratulated all pupils who entered the competition, in particular those being awarded prizes.

He said: “There were over 1,200 entries to this competition which shows that our young people feel strongly that bullying is an important issue. Each and every one of the entries reminds us that bullying is not, and never will be, acceptable in our schools, nor in our society as a whole.

“Bullying is damaging to individuals and to their education and I encourage schools and pupils to work together to eradicate this problem. I want children and young people to tell us how to help them. Partnerships like the Anti-Bullying Forum enable children to do this and ensure we find the best solutions to this problem.”

Pupils were asked to submit entries to this year’s competition in two categories - art and creative writing. Within the art category, young people could submit drawings, paintings, sculptures or photographs, while in the creative writing category entries could take the form of poetry, short stories, diaries, songs and drama scripts.

In conclusion, the Minister said: “This year’s launch coincides with Universal Children’s Day which means that all children and young people have a right to an identity and to be protected from bullying in our schools and in our communities.

“Bullying in school is a universal problem. Schools and pupils can work together to change this.”

Notes to editors:

  1. The NIABF is representative of statutory and non-statutory organisations working together to prevent and tackle bullying and create a safe environment for children and young people. The Forum, funded by the Department of Education, helps schools and organisations working with young people to develop appropriate strategies to prevent and deal with bullying behaviours.
  2. Anti-Bullying Week (ABW) 2012 runs from 19 - 23 November. This year’s theme is “Everybody is Somebody” which focuses on tackling bullying motivated by difference and prejudice.
  3. Over 650 schools and youth groups registered to take part. All receive a pack including themed posters, assembly presentations and activities.
  4. Universal Children’s Day - the United Nations Convention on the Rights of The Child was adopted by the UN General Assembly 23 years ago and sets out a list of rights for everyone under 18 years old.
  5. For more information visit the NI Anti-Bullying Forum website.
  6. For further advice on bullying please visit nidirect website.
  7. The Department of Education has launched a new ‘Education Works’ advertising campaign. The campaign encourages families to play, talk, read and count with their child and to ‘Get Involved Because Education Works’. Watch out for the ads on television, radio and outdoor locations. The campaign highlights the vital role families can play in helping children do well at school and improve their life chances. Visit nidirect website for more information or watch the TV ad on the Department’s YouTube channel.
  8. View photos from the Department of Education in our Flickr collection.
  9. Media enquiries to the Department of Education’s Communications Team on Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours, contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 99 715 440, and your call will be returned.