In 2014, the Smurfit Kappa Foundation invested in the ISPCC’s Shield My School Programme to help assist 151 schools across Ireland in developing more robust Anti-Bullying policies as well as expanding the programme to include the official ISPCC Shield Flag.
In Ireland today, thousands of children are experiencing bullying and the effects can be extremely far-reaching. At ISPCC Childline we know only too well the damage it can cause from the hundreds of thousands of calls we receive each year. To raise awareness and combat this widespread issue, the ISPCC developed ‘The Shield’, a symbol of protection from bullying that children can easily identify with.
The ISPCC began engaging and working with schools to assist them in perfecting their anti-bullying policies in line with the Department of Education’s policy requirements. This has been achieved through schools partaking in the ISPCC “Shield My School” campaign which consists of an intensive session for teachers and all school staff in reviewing, evaluating and developing positive responses to bullying behaviours within their school.
Through this programme the ISPCC has offered direct supportive work with teachers, parents and students in awareness raising regarding bullying behaviours. Schools that follow the ISPCC Shield campaign steps in addressing any bullying concerns and developing their own positive response models, can be awarded the “Shield flag”. This flag is a symbol that the school does not tolerate bullying behaviours, that any concerns will be investigated and dealt with in the most productive manner possible.
The first school in Ireland to be awarded the ISPCC’s Shield Flag was Gaelscoil na Cruaiche, in Westport, Co Mayo attended by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. We are now encouraging schools across the nation to show similar levels of endeavour in responding to bullying concerns and be awarded the ISPCC’s “Shield flag” as a testament to their efforts.
‘We would like to thank the Smurfit Kappa Foundation for their commitment in helping to address this widespread issue affecting children, families and schools throughout the country.’ Andrew Jackson, National Anti-Bullying Coordinator, ISPCC