Commenting on the start of Anti-Bullying Week, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:

“Anti-Bullying Week provides an important opportunity to highlight the devastating impact which bullying can have on the lives of both children and adults.

“Bullying is all too often dismissed as just part of school life, but the effects of bullying can last a lifetime.

“If bullying is to be eradicated, it has to be tackled in all its forms. No one should be the target of abuse because of their gender, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, religion or body image.

“Bullies now have a range of tools available to them to make their victims lives a misery, including the abuse of social media. Too many bullies can now perpetrate their attacks from the comfort of their own home while their targets can find no respite or peace in theirs.

“Research from the NASUWT found that over half of teachers were aware of pupils using social media to send insulting or bullying messages of a sexist nature to other students.

“53% of teachers were aware of messages of a homophobic nature and half of teachers were aware of racist messages.

“It is also important to remember that bullying does not just affect children and young people but, as NASUWT research has shown, it is worryingly prevalent in the workplace as well.

“The NASUWT survey found that half of teachers have had adverse comments posted about them on social media sites by pupils and parents. Abuse  of teachers by parents on twitter and on Facebook is a growing problem.

“Schools have a vital role to play in educating young people about bullying and tackling it.  Protecting pupils from bullying must be part of the school safeguarding strategy. Employers have a legal duty of care to teachers and other staff and protecting them from harassment and  abuse is a key part of their responsibility.”

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