50 signatures reached
To: Minister of Education Richard Bruton
Speak-Up Boxes for Schools
Introduce both "Speak-up" boxes and online access for students to anonymously report when there is a threat to a classmate eg if they know another student is being bullied if another student is talking about self-harm or Suicide.
Why is this important?
Too many of our children and teenagers are self-harming and dying by suicide, many of whom have reached out to their peers, many of whom are being bullied by others. Irish Millie Tuomey aged 11 killed herself after announcing to friends that she wanted to die, Darren Hughes 17 from Balbriggan and Gabriella Green aged 12 died also killed themselves after they were cyberbullied.
Our children and teenagers often find it easier to talk to friends instead of their parents but these friends are often unequipped to help. Some kids want to tell an adult that they are worried about someone but they don't want their friend knowing they betrayed their trust and often are just afraid to get involved in case they get bullied too so they stay quiet and say nothing. Often kids themselves want to tell a teacher that they are dealing with bullying, suicide thoughts, self-harm or abuse but they find it too hard to reach out and are often afraid that it will get worse if the bullies find out they told.
By introducing "Speak-up" boxes, it allows the children and teenagers to anonymously tip off the teachers that one of their classmates are in harm's way and may need support. This allows the teachers and parents to put in the necessary supports. The person themselves that is being bullied can make an anonymous report about themselves without fear that the bullies will know they went to a teacher as anybody could have reported it.
These "Speak up" boxes should be in all schools, in bathrooms, common areas and easily accessed. There should also be a way to "speak up" online also anonymously without fear of repercussion.
Enough of our children and teens have suffered long-lasting damage because they were dealing with these issues alone. We need the Minister of Education and the Schools to be pro-active instead of reactive in reaching out to make it easier for their classmates to speak up without fear of consequence. We are thankfully getting to an age where "whistleblowing" and "speaking up" is seen as brave and right and no-longer tell-tattling or troublemaking. We need to pass this message onto our children and teens to protect them from harm's way.