Letters - Bullying and Education Director’s comments

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As someone who signed the recent petition on bullying at the Nicolson Institute, and as the parent of a primary-age child, I would like to respond to the Director of Education’s comments (‘Comhairle education chief is accused of using bullying tactics’, Gazette October 18).

The petition articulated the huge concern that many on the island are feeling about the situation with bullying in our schools, and any attempts to smear the person who produced it will not put this issue back in its box.

As a result of the petition, victims of bullying, parents and relatives are right now sharing their stories, pooling ideas, and organising to make a change. Is this what he calls “attacking the school”?

I would like to see open meetings about this issue, where parents, students, schools, councillors and the education department can look together at the problems in the Nicolson, and in other schools across the authority.

We then need to work together to plan changes in school culture, anti-bullying programmes, and other initiatives, based on evidence of effectiveness.

The best anti-bullying strategies involve the whole community, and the whole community needs to steer this process on an equal footing with schools.

The council and education department should welcome action by parents to improve conditions for their children, and could be working now to facilitate this process.

My message to the Director is therefore this: it is not too late to step up to the challenge.

Marianne Gibson


Isle of Lewis