Benefits for Schools
The numerous benefits to be gained through the implementation of the EU Bully project are wide-ranging and far-reaching.
In a general context, the initiative is delivering the following effective outcomes:
- Raising awareness about bullying, depression, suicide and general mental health in schools, especially as these issues become more prevalent;
- Inspiring the establishment of other anti-bullying activities in schools, including awareness campaigns built into the curriculum, poster competitions, surveys, and fundraising for charitable causes to name a few;
- Where there has been a crisis situation as a result of bullying, the workshops have had a calming effect, described as a weight being lifted off students’ shoulders;
- Serving as a useful resource for helping in the work of community counseling services dealing with a variety of issues including bullying;
- Sharing real life stories and experiences which provoke deep thinking and soul searching;
- Empowering children to take action against bullying;
- Guiding parents / guardians through the complexity of cyberbullying with a sense of professionalism, human warmth, empathy and understanding which is believed to be critical in creating a positive impact on all participants.
There is evidence that the EU Bully project has also had a direct impact on a range of participating students’ behaviour, encouraging them to:
- Be more careful with what they put up on the internet;
- Think more before messaging something;
- Learn the importance of not putting up negative information on the internet given how badly it can damage a person’s health;
- Realise the severity of not talking about how they are feeling;
- Recognise how cyberbullying has a lifelong impact;
- Consider the bully and not just the victim in order to get a greater understanding of them and to see how important it is to solve the problem rather then just get rid of the cause;
- Understand technology better, such as seeing how someone can be tracked / traced from using a mobile phone;
- Identify and act on bullying behaviour by reporting it;
- Recite the anti-bullying pledge in their schools.
Indeed, the feedback from the participating schools across the length and breadth of the country has been unanimously positive, appreciative and encouraging for the future success of the EU Bully project.
Here are a select sample of the reactions to the anti-bullying workshops:
“Something I never even considered was the idea of ‘reporting’ bullying rather then just telling someone, which I think is brilliant. It is eliminating the opportunity for a bully to remain unknown and is showing that it is a serious matter and will not be accepted by teachers or students alike. I believe this could be the key to creating a successful anti-bullying system in Ireland.”
[Comhairle na nOg]
“To say that you had an impact, is an understatement!”
Clíona Ní Néill, Principal, Presentation Secondary School, Galway
“The children that took part in the workshop are now much more aware of bullying, its effects and consequences and what to do if you see someone being bullied. The workshop brought both years closer together and made us realise we all need to stand up for each other to tackle the major issue of bullying in our society today.”
“Fantastic workshops; the students were very much engaged with the subject matter and while they might not be the most vocal teenagers – it really hit home – they are still telling me today how good it was!”
“Some of the content was very scary such as suicide; we often hear things like that on the news or radio, but to hear a detective tell about his real life experience of a boy who took his own life as a result of being bullied makes us really think hard.”
Student from Nagle Community College, Mahon, Cork
“The workshop is still a topic of conversation two weeks later and it had a huge positive impact on all who attended. Every child, parent and teacher gained a new insight into the very sensitive topic of bullying and cyberbullying. We are taking on board the ideas suggested at the workshop and are also looking forward to displaying the t-shirt in our new lobby.”
“The training provided by Bully 4U was second to none. There was great feedback from the young people, word spread throughout the school that the workshops were excellent, prompting other pupils to ask when they were going to have theirs! The parents’ event was an extremely emotional and moving event as parents grappled with the issues of bullying.”
“Kevin and Jim from Bully 4U showed real skill in engaging with sensitivity with the children and had them speaking very honestly about their concerns. He gave them great advice and guidance about cyberbullying which the older children really listened to.“
“Your talk was very touching. I’m currently getting over a bad stage of self-harm and depression but am making a slow recovery. I have great respect for people working in your area, and I think its a job I’d like to have when I’m older because I find it easy to relate to people who are struggling since I have experience, and want to help people like me get through tough times in the future.
Fourth Year Student,
“I found the ‘T-Shirt’ exercise to be highly beneficial as it had the shock factor which I believe young people need to understand a situation. Even with the mix of ages, I believe everyone understood the point of how what someone says can have a devastating impact on another person and how not telling someone continues the domino affect.“
“Seeing what other students wrote about their feelings on the Bully 4u t-shirt displayed on our school wall is a daily reminder that bullying is damaging.”
Student from Nagle Community College, Mahon, Cork